Saturday, March 07, 2009

Only a couple letters off

A few months ago, I wrote about a couple + plural noun (e.g., a couple things vs. a couple of things). Today it's in the news, as pointed out by Geoff Pullum over at Language Log. When there was a typo on a gift from Hillary Clinton to her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the Clinton adviser Philippe Reines is reported to have protested that the word they printed is only a couple letters off.

Geoff puts only a couple letters off in quotes, but I'm not sure whether he means to attribute that to the newspaper story or to Reines. I can't actually find any stories with those words in quotes, and indeed a Google news search only turns up two stories with that wording, one from Fox and one from Asian News International.

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