semantic drift: "several" = many

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jun 8 00:46:59 UTC 2008

A reader chides the Bouolder, CO, _Camera_ for printing a letter that urged patients to throw away their Prozac ("a known toxin") and breathe deeply instead (June 7, 2008, p. 12A):

  "Not everyone benefits from talk therapy. While it can be a valuable part of the process, several people still live with chemical imbalances that cause anxiety."

  I presume that this chap learned that _several_ "means 'some'" and took it from there.

  FWIW, ISTR I saw this once or twice in freshman writing twenty or more years ago.


The American Dialect Society -

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