Originally Posted by Synthea™
I forgot about "a few" so I'll revise my list -
Couple is 2
A few is 3-4
Several is 5-7
A lot is 8+
I agree with all of this BUT... you would never say:
"It will be there in several days" to a customer ordering a sling from you if you really mean to tell a customer that your online tracking shows it will be there in one week (7 days). If I ordered a sling on Monday to use on a big trip I was taking and I was leaving on Saturday, and the sling store owner promised me it would get to me in 'several' days, I'd be pissed if I didn't get it by the weekend and would be annoyed at their poor communication since 'several' in this context would never mean 7.
"You should add several of drops and then stir" to your mother if you really mean to tell your mother that your child should take *at least* 6 vitamin C drops in their tea per the dosing instructions. Here, your mother would be more likely to add 3 or 4 (*maybe* 5) drops, not 6 or 7!
"I've completed several pages" to your editor if you've actually written 7 of your 8 page article. i.e., using 'several' would communicate that you've done more like roughly half of your work, not that you're nearly finished.
Again, I think 'several' is generally NOT as many as 6 or 7. Sometimes it is, but there are also many example where it isn't. JMHO.