My couple or my partner?

There is an excellent cinema in my hometown. I go there almost every weekend with my couple.

Indonesian flag This is an Indonesian student translating pasangan, which can be translated as either couple (or pair) or partner, depending on the context.

If the context is two people who are romantically attached, then these two people – together – form a couple. But be careful! It’s only when they are together that they are a couple. We cannot refer to one of them separately as a couple.

Take, for example Brangelina. All of the following are true:

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used to be a couple.
  • Brad was Angelina’s partner.
  • Angelina was Brad’s partner.
  • Angelina Jolie often appeared in films alongside her partner, Brad Pitt.

Notice also that in this context – couple meaning two people romantically attached – the word ‘couple’ behaves like a noun rather than a quantifier. But whether it is a noun or a quantifier, we are extremely unlikely to see a possessive before couple (‘my couple’). In fact there is only one situation I can think of when a quantifier behaves like a noun that can be ‘possessed’:

  • This weekend I’m taking my two to the beach.

In this case two means ‘children’. But again, this is very rare.

Returning to ‘couple’, if you’re talking about one member of a couple, use partner!

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