Which Is Correct, Couple or Couples?: Most at times, English Language can be confusing as words and phrases could be closely related that we may fall prey of making mistakes in the syntax and usage of these words in a sentence. There are long lists of words which are often confusing and may result to a grammatical error if not used properly in a sentence.
While I have considered a good number of these words in previous articles published on this blog, i shall once again consider a word which has been commonly abused due to perception of pluralisation and otherwise in the use of the word. In this article I shall consider the word ‘Couple’ and ‘couples’ so as to examine their meaning and correct usage in a sentence.
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Meaning of Couple
The term Couple is a collective noun which refers to two people who are married, dating each other or is closely related to each other romantically and sexually. A Couple could also be referred to as a Pair, as they are perceived to go well together and are connected with each other.
Hence, when people are romantically and sexually connected with each other by marriage, relationship or association, they are widely referred to as a couple. For instance, David and Faith is a married couple, the couple was holding hands, and the couple got married in 2000, they make a nice couple, et cetera.
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Meaning of Couples
The term Couples is a noun widely regarded as the plural form of the above defined term ‘Couple’. It is usually used with a plural verb. For instance, the couples are everywhere. Or it often used to refer to more than one couple. For instance, yesterday was a couple’s night; there are lots of young couples in our area, several couples were on the dance floor, et cetera.
From the above definition and examples of both terms, we can see that both terms have some significance in English language, and can only exclusively fit in some grammatical context. That being the case, how can we decipher of which of the term is correct? Which fits in the most in a grammatical context and the appropriate way of using it?
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Which Is Correct, Couple or Couples?
The term Couple is generally referred to as the correct word in English Language, as it is widely accepted as a word in the English lexis unlike the word ‘Couples’. This term is believed to represent both singular and plural verb forms as opposed to the common analogy that ‘couple’ means singular, while ‘couple’ refers to plural.
The Merriam Webster dictionary posited that the term ‘Couple’ is a collective noun; which refers to a group of people who are in a relationship, as such it could fit into the context of singular and plural, and it uses either a singular or plural verb to convey a message in a sentence.
For example: The couple has four children (singular verb) the couple are wedding tomorrow (Plural verb). Thus, the term ‘couple’ is a word of universal usage and is generally accepted as the grammatically correct word in English Language. However, there are some instances wherein the usage of the word ‘couple’ may not appear correct and pluralizing the word as ‘Couples’ may seem more apposite and vice versa.
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Let’s consider some of these instances:
a. When referring to a person: When referring to a person in a sentence, it is apposite to use the term ‘couple’ as it is best used in a singular form. Hence, when you are referring to a person or two people who are in a relationship, you only refer to them as a couple. For instance, David and Faith is the best couple, the couple went to Dubai for their honey moon, the couple had a great time, they make a nice couple, and each couple was asked to donate $100.
In this context, you cannot use the word ‘couples’. For instance: Each couples was asked to donate or $100 or David and Faith is the best couples. This is a grammatical blunder, and in the context of one or two persons, the word ‘couple’ is only correct.
b. When referring to more than two persons: Generally, when referring to more than one couple or three or more persons, the word ‘couples’ is commonly used. For example: it was a couple’s night, more than ten couples were present at my show, we entertained all the couples, the couples were excited. In this instance, it is only correct to use the term ‘couples’ and wrong to use the term ‘couple’.
For example: more than ten couple were present. This sentence is grammatically wrong, and as such we can say using the term ‘Couple’ is grammatically incorrect in this instance.
Nonetheless, sometimes, the word ‘couple’ could also be used when referring to more than two persons. For example, only a few couple came for the show, every couple was left satisfied.
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c. When using a Singular verb: This generally refers to when one person is performing an action. A singular verb is a word which is used with singular subjects in a sentence to express their actions. Such words which is often used are: he, she, and words ending with ‘s’ and ‘es’ in a present tense. For example: He loves the couple, she writes a couple dialogues, the couple plays too much, and the outfit of the couple is great.
In the above instance, it is only correct to use the term ‘couple’ and totally wrong to use ‘couples’. For instance: The outfit of the couples is great. This sentence is totally wrong as it is incorrect to use the term ‘couples’ in a sentence with a singular verb.
d. When using a plural verb: A Plural verb is used when more than one person is performing an action and it is usually used in present tense to pair with plural noun in a sentence. A plural verb doesn’t‘s’ added at the end of its word and could take the form of words such as: are, were, have, and, et cetera.
When using a plural verb in a sentence, it is generally accepted to use the term ‘couples’ instead. For example: All the couples are looking stunning, the couples were having a wonderful time, holidays were given to multiple couples, they are one of my favourite couples. It is grammatically wrong to say they are one of my favourite couple or all the couple are looking stunning or holidays were given to multiple couple.
Thus, we can all generally agree that when using a plural verb, it is apposite to use the term ‘Couples’. However, there some instances wherein you can rightfully use the term ‘Couple’ with a plural verb. For example: The couple are enjoying themselves, he went to carry the newly-wedded couple, et cetera.
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In conclusion, it is instructive to note the term ‘couple’ is both a singular and collective noun and as such can perfectly be used with either a singular or plural verb, while the word ‘Couples’ is a plural noun which can be only paired with a plural verb.
Thus, both words are correct in their own way. No one is more correct than the other, it just depends on their context of usage, as there are some contexts wherein the term ‘couple’ may not fit in and some context wherein the term ‘couples’ may only fit in and vice versa.
The only difference is that the term ‘couples’ is the plural form of the term ‘couple’ and the term ‘couple’ is widely is widely accepted and generally used and is applicable in way more context than the term ‘couples’. I trust this article was insightful? If yes, kindly share your opinion in the comment section below.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.