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What number do you think various words represent? Options · View
Posted: Friday, August 03, 2012 11:09:17 PM

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I was thinking the other day about what actual number certain general terms mean to people. For instance, 'couple' to me means two, while 'a few' in my mind means three. 'Several' represents maybe 4 or 5. 'Numerous' could be anything from 5 on up, where a 'number' could be 0 to maybe 10. What do you think? Are there terms you use rather than an actual number, but in your mind the word represents a fairly specific number?

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Posted: Saturday, August 04, 2012 1:07:14 PM

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When writing, I tend to steer away from using numbers totally. Numbers give an exact meaning to something that a writer may not want to convey. For that reason, I use the same concept that you propose adele.

Those that you have named are ones that come to mind when I write and want to convey a meaning "numerical phrases," if you will.

There is also the following words: twice, thrice, quadruple, many, trillion, zillion, and some (which in numbers could also be "sum," as we all know).

Then there are phrases like the following: "a lot of," "a great deal," and "it was not in the cards."

But to tell you the truth, if I ever use those numerical meaning words or phrases in my writing, I leave it up to the reader to make up what they believe I was trying to convey. The ready may be right or wrong, but I will never know because I am just the author letting the reader decide for themselves.

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