Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll get a bunch of ways to say a couple of things in English.

We will answer a listener question about whether you should say “A couple things” or “A couple of things” and so much more.

Today our listener asked us this questions in iTunes:

“On a podcast episode you said you had a “couple things” to do or maybe was it “a couple of things”? I don’t know. The reason it’s confusing me is because my mind tells me that it would be logical to add “of” in the phrase. You would make my day if you gave me your point of view on this.”

-Fred, AEE Listener

To answer Fred’s question:

When we write this phrase we say “a couple of things” but when we speak we drop “of” because it’s faster and more natural to say it this way.

In American English we often try to find the fastest and easiest way to say something, at least when we are speaking in casual conversation.

Today we’re going to learn how to say how much or how many of something there is:

  • “A bunch of” or “a (whole) buncha”:
    • “I have a bunch of things to do today. I have a whole bunch of things to do today.”
    • “There are a whole buncha (bunch of) people in Starbucks today so it might take a while for me to get my coffee.”
  • “A couple of things”, “a couple things”, “a couple-a-things”:
    • “I have a couple-a things to say today”
  • A few: This is two, three, maybe four. It’s not an exact number.
  • “A lot of” or “A lot-a” or “a whole lot of”: A large amount of something
  • “A handful of”: 4 or 5 times, a number that you can count on your hand
    • “I have only met her a handful of times”
  • “So many” or “many”:
    • “There are so many people here”
    • “I lived in New York City for many years and then I moved to Boston”
  • “A ton of”: A lot of something, this is much than “a handful”
    • “There are a ton of overpriced products at Whole Foods”

*Listen to the conversation between Lindsay and Michelle to hear how these are used in conversation.

What comments do you have about today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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