Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just how much IS "several" anyway...

I might have mentioned awhile back that I went to my class reunion.  What I might have failed to mention was that it was a sparsely attended affair.  By no means am I the only member of my graduating class who has children - and I can even name 4 other class members who have MORE children than I...  but none of them were there...  so my five children was a SHOCKER to the assembled crowd.  SO much of a shocker that one classmate said "Man, you have a slew of children"...  seriously.  I laughed at his choice of words...  and have spent the past months wondering...  is there a guideline out there for what constitutes a slew... or several... or even many?

Well, my friends - I have found no such guide.  Granted, I haven't even tried asking at WikiAnswers (sorry sis) so perhaps such a thing does exist already... but that just wouldn't be as funny now would it?

So, without further ado... I present - the definitions of enumerations... (wait, not sure that makes sense either...)

a Couple - this is not up for debate - a couple is two, a couple MUST be two...  seriously - love triangles may make interesting teen-angst vampire werewolf novels... but a couple is a couple is a couple and always equals two.  thanks for understanding.

a Few - "few" just has to come after a couple... let's just say that "few" can mean 3... or even 4... 

Handful - ummm, guys - this isn't rocket science - a handful is 5.  I have a handful of children.  (my apologies to any of you six fingered people out there...  if you want, you can extend "handful" up to the number 6...  see, I can be sensitive to special needs too!)

Several - I don't know why - but Several means Seven to me...  okay, so I know WHY...  I'm just not sure it's a universal truth...  Let's go ahead and let "several stand for 7 OR 8...   so I won't be accused of typecasting poor 7 just because it has a few of the same letters!  (ha, did you just glance up to make sure I used "few" correctly... I did.)

Many - 9... or 10... or 11 even...  of course, if you repeat the word (i.e. - I have Many many many books in my house the number grows exponentially.  3 manys is about a thousand in the case of books...)

Bunches -  the vague number references are getting more vague about this point... or perhaps I am getting more vague?  It IS getting late after all!  Bunches is going to work for anything from 12 to 36...  preferable keeping them in dozens if you can.  Thanks - I like things to work out nice and even.  (you know... "bunches" of flowers?  probably dozens right?)

A Slew -  NOT a slough by the way... I promise.  (I looked it up to be sure)  This implies more than 40 to me.  I DO have a slew of relatives... but NOT a slew of children.

Tons -  this one is tricky since ton is an actual unit of measure...  2000 pounds.  So in order to accurately say "I have a TON of pictures to go through" or "I did a TON of laundry this weekend" I'd have to measure...  let's just say I'm rounding up though.  (I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm no good at math)

A Crapload -crass, yes... but this can replace "ton" in the above sentences without worries of accuracy...  you might however begin to worry about offending those around you.  Use at your own risk...  just avoid using it for anything under the number 40... because those are already taken.

others:

"Plenty" - is subjective... I mean, I can say I have "plenty" of dish detergent... which probably means enough to get me through the month...  "plenty" of money though?  If I ever say I have plenty of money you can bet that it will be enough to get me through more than a month.  Ditto for "enough".

my kids also suggested "heckuvalot" - I wasn't sure if that was more than bunches... or less... 

any others? 
because we've all been left in the dark about the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop for long enough...  is it a slew of licks?  a ton?  (please... don't say it's that last one... that's just not appetizing at all..)

19 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Excellent. I've always taken several to mean three.

And my favorite is "crapload."

Saimi said...

Hum, you have me beat. I have a few children. But when I was birthing them, I felt as if they were a crapload

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

I am loving all your posts lately, so glad you are working at blogging instead of something that pays you for a living.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Oh and I am totally over class reunions. Went to my 10th but found that cost vs benefit ratio seriously lacking. I don't imagine I will every go again.

Z said...

You're funnier than WikiAnswers anyway.

... The problem with Tootsie Roll pops though is that they have an inconsistent process, which sometimes gets the middle skewed way off to the side, and it is peeking out when you unwrap it. So, the answer HAS been zero... ta-dah, unwrap it and you are already at the center. So there isn't only one answer. I think it is one of those things that could be anywhere between 1 and a lot... and whoever gets close to a lot is way more patient than I am, because I always bite into it as soon as it will break.

Barbaloot said...

I know it's ridiculous, but it drives me crazy when people don't use couple and few correctly. I feel that those two are SO cut and dry in what they mean that people don't have any excuse for using them incorrectly!

Garden of Egan said...

I would say you have "just enough" or "perfect enough"

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

LOL, Saimi comment is awesome.

So, although I come from a family of several kids, I only have a few.

Although I'm pretty sure by the way people look at me that they think I have a slew, or yes, even a crapload.

Charlotte said...

I noticed you skipped the number six (unless I have six fingers) so I guess the number of children remains in limbo. Or you could always say, "too many."

T said...

charlotte - you could just tell them you had "six"... :)

Charlotte said...

What fun would that be?

Missy said...

I am so glad you cleared this up!

LC said...

By your next reunion you'll have a heckuvalot--including grandkids.
You can all ride on a float at the 4th of July parade.

Jen T said...

I think this needs to go into textbooks. Very good info! Thanks for sharing ;) love it!

Cheeseboy said...

This is very helpful information, especially for one that might be considering attending a future reunion.

How much is a farthing though?

See Mom Smile said...

So I would be correct in saying that after I had a slew of children I gained a ton of weight?! By the way, I won the award for the most children at my class reunion. I think it made some of those guys WISH they had dated me!

Carolyn said...

what about a plethora? how many is that?! you cant leave that out.

Anonymous said...

How nice, this basically confirms my perceptions of words these ambiguous amount words, though I tend to extend "several" to mean 5-11.

Charlotte, I'd have to say that if several doesn't work for you, you can always say "some" -- that's perfect for the number 5!

Howard Larinan said...

Dozen is 12