As in "there was a couple of passages I found difficult to understand" or "there were a couple of passages... etc"?
If both are valid, any nuance as to the meaning of each?
Thanks for the response, but I'm not sure I understand. "Couple" is singular, "couples" would be plural, right? That's why I wondered if you should go with "there were couples", but "there was a couple"? I tried to google this (even though it's dangerous with English), and I'm getting more hits for "was a couple of" than "were a couple of".
So you're saying that even though "couple" is singular, you still need to use plural verbs with it?
then which one is a couple refers to is it a unit (only one) use is or it is two as we look two persons in it. it is like parents, mom and dad.
The number of a noun is manifested by its morphological form. Singularity is not a semantic attribute.
In "There (be) a couple of passages I found difficult to understand," 'of passages' needs to be there to complete the meaning of the unit noun. A couple of what? Peter and Viola are a lovely couple. This couple is not that couple.