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For example in a résumé, are

Experience in a couple of rendering tools

and

Experience in some rendering tools

the same from the point of view of formality?

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  • 2
    Some is suitable for any context; a couple, when it simply signifies a few, is too informal, and possibly inaccurate, because it can be interpreted literally as a minimum requirement of no more than two. A few is better and less informal. Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 14:31
  • 2
    In formal language, a couple refers to -exactly- two items. Informally is where the number can get slippery.
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 15:14
  • To me, "a couple" sounds informal even when it means exactly "two." I'd use the noun "couple" in formal writing only to mean two people who are paired together.
    – user32047
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 15:41
  • Ok, I'll use some then.
    – user29020
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 15:58
  • 1
    Pretty please stop using backticked monospace on ELU.
    – tchrist
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 18:29

1 Answer 1

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I would suggest neither are correct in formal writing. As commentors have already pointed out, in this instance 'a couple' would refer to literally two items. However, 'some' also feels clumsy to me in that sentence.

I would suggest using one of the following in a formal document, such as a resume:

Experience in a number of rendering tools.

Experience with various rendering tools.

Experience in numerous rendering tools.

Experience in a multitude of rendering tools.

I have ordered these in roughly ascending order of number, with "a number of" being the least, and "a multitude of" being the most, depending on how many tools you wish to express your experience with.

I might also suggest changing the word "in" to "with" in any of these sentences.

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  • You could even use 'many' if you were so inclined. Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 18:18
  • Or "with several"
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 21:43

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