Is there any difference between when saying ”a couple of” and ”a couple”? Or they just drop ”of” in the casual scene? Is it common and natural in the native speaker's conversation?
In conversation, I would say there is no difference "a couple of" and "a couple". Either one of those could be used, and you would be understood. However, the word "couple" has ha a bit of nuance. Technically it is used to mean two, or a pair. However, the idiom "a couple of" can be used to mean more than two, it is used to mean a small number of, or a few. So, if you wanted to be completely clear I would avoid using "couple" to mean "roughly two or three," and use "a couple of" instead. However, if you meant to say "two and only two," then you could feel free to use "couple". Ex: I have a couple months left. = I have two months left. Ex: I have a couple of months left. = I have 3-4 months left.
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