So let's get to the last of this series on how we use this number sense when we grow up.
A few English words are neither singular nor plural, but instead imply two and TWO only. They are called dual words. For example:
- both of us
- tandem (a bicycle built for two - this one is mine!)
However, you can find troublesome exceptions to this duality.
Either normally implies
- one or the other but not both (Either Darcie or I will leave work first today.)
But without any warning, it may also mean
- both (We have parking places on either end of the building.)
We can use other words that increase the count beyond duality. Here are some examples:
- thrice, an archaic word meaning three times
- triple, meaning three
- triad, meaning a group of three
- trinity, meaning three (and often implying three in one)
- triplet, meaning three children born at the same time (or a bicycle for three)
Can we get beyond three? Indeed we can. Quad, Quint, etc. You get the idea. And if you'd love to have one of these fancy multi-seat bikes, you can contact Santana Cycles.
There are a few special words in English that imply:
- lots of participants doing something
or even though it is not stated explicitly, they might mean:
- a few doing something many times over
- stampede, drive or round-up of cattle or other livestock
- herd instinct is a closely-related concept
- migration of birds and butterflies
- exodus or diaspora or pilgrimage mean many people going, but with different nuances
- rush as in a group of folks trying to get into a sorority, or to find gold first
- massacre as in The Chicago St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, etc.
- epidemic or pandemic is used of a fast-moving disease
- bandwagon effect when lots of people jump quickly onto the same subject
- snowballing implies the same thing, and finally a more current term:
- going viral as in My blog is going viral (albeit very slowly).