first two/two first, last three/ three last

These are idiomatic expressions, and commentators have sometimes objected to the second in each pair. Logically, they argue, the first two includes number one and number two, but the two first implies that there are two number ones. This logic chopping does not hold up when applied to natural language. All four expressions are still Standard, even if the two (three) first and the two (three) last sound a bit old-fashioned.

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