Couple Trouble

Following on from my little rant about having trouble reading, being the picky writer I am and thus focusing on grammar over story, I’d like to ask everyone about this little conundrum.

Consider this;

“A couple days ago, Callie had a premonition that I needed to go to the strait to help.” (from “Gods and Mortals: Eleven Novels Featuring Thor, Loki, Greek Gods, Native American Spirits, Vampires, Werewolves, & More” by C. Gockel, S. T. Bende, Christine Pope, Eva Pohler, Laura Howard, DelSheree Gladden, Nancy Straight, Karen Lynch, Kim Richardson, Becca Mills)


“A couple of days ago, Callie had….”

See the difference? Of. One tiny word. Big difference.

Now, I always believed “of” should always accompany “couple”. I use it myself. However, the book I’m currently reading omits “of” every time “couple” is used. This irks me. A lot.

I thought about other nouns used to describe quantities; “a few”… “a dozen”… “a number” and there doesn’t appear to be set rules about “of”;

“A few days ago…”

“A dozen days ago…”

“A number of days ago…”

Hm. No rhyme or reason. So, I hit the dictionary.

And couple is, er, coupled with “of” every time.

So, what does all this say for the book I’m reading? Well, as it’s a series of short stories, and every story so far has the absence of, well, “of” before “couple”, methinks it’s the fault of the editor. The editor! The folk who should know better than us writerly folk how to grammar!

So I implore my fellow readers, writers and editor friends. What’s the deal here? Should couple have an “of” behind it, or do you use the skin crawling “a couple days ago” in your own work?

A couple of things to ponder. Or, a couple things to ponder…

23 thoughts on “Couple Trouble

  1. Can we talk about Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done? It had some ridiculous lines, that book, that I was almost sure I was reading an unedited draft. I think she took artistic liberty too far. How else would anyone attempt to publish, “The sun opened. Birds sounded.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Personally, I think either way sounds okay; but I guess I’ve always said it with the ‘of.’ You’re right – it is weird. I always thought ‘of’ as a connector, like he is of Russian descent, or it’s a photo of an old ship. Now, I’ll have to look up ‘of’ and see what it means!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I omit the “of” when writing dialog of my folksy, less educated characters, but include it for my more formal characters. I have to admit that I sometimes don’t use it in my own day to day “real life” conversations – “Bring me a couple cookies” or “Give me a couple minutes.” *Sigh*

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  4. I can deal with things like that when they’re in dialogue – in fact, they can add to character, but in ordinary prose, I think it would put me off and if copied repeatedly, I don’t think I could finish the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well…since we’re old buds, you know my feelings about grammar. I am The Grammar Nazi. Although I don’t have my suits tailor made by Hugo Boss.
    Still though…if this is editing, then I think I missed my calling! I could edit the crap out of (LITERALLY) such drivelly drivel.
    Saying that though, I think ‘couple’ without the needed, nay IMPERATIVE ‘of’ is an American colloquialism. Should it be allowed to be published when not in the context of direct speech?
    Fuck NO.

    LOVE YA!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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