• thejoker954@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    This is used all the time in literature and it infuriates me.

    Several doesn’t mean three. We have “few” for that.

    But in books it’s always shit like ‘there’s several people in the room - you introduce yourself to them and learn their names are Bob and Wade. You’ve been introduced to everyone and decide to leave.’

    • OpenStars@discuss.online
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      1 month ago

      Uh… what? Every definition of “several” that I’ve ever heard is more than two but less than many, with the latter usually defined as five or more, or sometimes rather less than “a lot”. So “several” means roughly 3 or 4, maybe 5 or even like 6 or higher but not yet “a lot”. See e.g. https://www.dictionary.com/e/few-vs-couple-vs-several/. It sounds like those books you are referring to were using it wrong.

      Regional variations surely exist though. And there could be more abstract usages too like several chips meaning like 10 or 20 but bc of their small size if the speaker felt the it was still not “many” or “a lot”.

      • BarrelAgedBoredom@lemm.ee
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        1 month ago

        I believe the heirarchy goes:

        A couple - two

        A few 3-5

        Several 6~15-20

        Many - more than ~15-20

        I think several and many are basically interchangeable Source: my ass