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A colleague in graduate school, where a great deal of paper is consumed, divided people into two classes, bunchers and folders. (I’m a folder, as you might have guessed.)

The impulse to divide human beings into binary categories is very strong—Robert Benchley wrote that there are two classes of people, those who believe that there are two classes of people and those who do not. I’m in the former of Benchley’s classes, and I’ve amused myself during a slack interval thinking of opposites. Introvert/extrovert and liberal/conservative are obvious, but there are many more, though man and woman may not be as strictly defined as was thought in the 1950s. Add some of your own in comments if you feel moved to do so. I’ll get you started.








early risers/night owls


green salsaistas/red salsaistas





judgers/perceivers (if you go in for that Myers-Briggs sorcery)



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:10 AM | | Comments (17)


Currents events demand that we add 1%ers/99%ers.

There are three kinds of people: those who can add and those who can't.

Re: The economy: workers/investors

Producers and Looters



How could I have left this pair out?


Freedom fighters/staunch defenders of the truth

Wagnerians/everyone else

those who sleep with the window open/ those who don't

those who drink whiskey with water / those who don't

bow-tie wearers / others

rhotic / non-rhotic

Appalachian/sorry for all those Appalachians
taxpayers with kids in school/taxpayers who got their educations and who don't want to pay any more for schools
live Christmas tree fanciers/synthetic tree fanciers
readers/television watchers
people who are lucky/everyone else

Twoness, clearly doesn't always necessarily always have to imply a Manichaean split, or complete polar opposites. Recall Old Blue Eyes (the late Frank Sinatra's) smash hit "Love and Marriage", and that horse and carriage passage.

These days it appears that the negotiation of "love" and "marriage" can be a very fuzzy, complicated affair. As the that earlier cited old Sinatra chestnut claimed, maybe today, contrary to the song's rosy sentiment, you CAN 'have one without the other'. The blushing former bride, Kim Kardashian, I submit as our most recent exhibit "A". Just sayin'.

(OK, enough Kardashian bashing. Sorry.)

Well, at any rate, here's my laundry list of some familiar twosomes:

----carnivores/ vegetarians

---tragedians/ comedians

---sinners/ saints

---givers/ takers

---destroyers/ makers

---leaders/ followers

---haves/ have-nots

---lovers/ haters

---sane/ insane

---Vivaldi fans/ everyone else who isn't

---fitness freaks/ couch potatoes

---naturists/ non-nudists, i.e., those who prefer their clothes on in public

---slobs/ neat freaks (basically the "odd couple" scenario)

---high achievers/ those who opt to just get by

---coffee lovers/ avid tea drinkers

---fiction readers/ non-fiction readers

---optimists/ pessimists

---NPR diehards/ FM radio loyalists

---hunters/ agrarians

---urbanites/ suburbanites

---uptowners/ downtowners

---alcoholics/ recovering alcoholics

---bullies/ nurturers

---mensches/ 'unmenschionables' *(so I made it up........... sue me.HA!)

* Basically not nice people---- jerks, in other words

Well that's all I got........... for now.

Have a great week, folks.


Your original distinction -- bunchers and folders -- could also be the similar distinction between filers and pilers.

Dichotomy lends itself to jokes as well. Two well known ones:

There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Some people have a way with words, others not have way. (Steve Martin, attr)


Clearly one-too-many "always" in the first paragraph of my last post. This "twoness" thing was obviously rubbing off on me.

Additionally, my opening of the second sentence in the very next paragraph evinced another clumsy faux pas, i.e., "the that"........... say what?

Many are called, but few are chosen. Called/ chosen....... get it?

In arctic climes it's, "many are cold, but few are frozen". (Groan)

(A glacial pall comes over the audience.)



This "twoness" thing is very tough to shake, dear professor. It's been haunting me (in a good way) the entire day.

(Even while watching Tiger Woods claim his first official victory in over two years, albeit in his limited-field annual Fall fund-raiser-for his foundation-tournament here amongst the gorgeous foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in Thousand Oaks, CA.. I'm still a big fan, in spite of all his off-course, well-documented extracurricular shenanigans, which had little to do w/ golf. But i digress.)

So I just couldn't resist sharing a few more possible "twosomes" that came to mind:

---narcissists/ self-loathers

---boxer 'shorters'/ briefs-kinda-guys

---Pepsi lovers/ Coke lovers (Dr. Pepper, hang in there.)

---manic types/ depressives

---kvetchers/ rejoicers

---bathers/ showerers

---big tippers/ cheapskates

---snorers/ their long-suffering bed-mates

---introverts/ extroverts

---dog lovers/ cat lovers

---imbibers (of alcohol)/ teatotlers (sp. ?)

---globetrotters/ homebodies

---nostalgists/ futurists (rarely looking back at their lives in their personal rear-view mirrors)

---ignoramuses/ polymaths

---pragmatists/ pie-in-the-sky dreamers

---realists/ abstractionists (in the realm of the plastic arts)

---light sleepers/ heavy sleepers (REM sleep is where it's at, folks.)

---tech wizards/ all-thumbs klutzes (Are those so-called "Mac/ Apple geniuses" really THAT smart?)

---swimmers/ drowners (OK...... that was admittedly a stretch.)

---fans of the Brit (original) version of the sitcom "The Office"/ fans of the American 'annexed' version

---'Gleeks'/ those who can't stand the show (Those kids are just too darn talented for their own good.)

---"Mad Men" fans vs. those who could care less about the fate of Don Draper and his motley ad crew (Could this current 'hiatus' be any longer? Yo, fan loyalty only has a finite shelf-life you spoiled Mad Men mucky-mucks. Next July is a fr*ckin' eternity from now. Capeche?)

Clearly I've lapsed into a veritable TV/ pop-culture morass, here........... so I'll be off, forthwith.

Sleep tight my lovelies. (in your jammies, boxers, nighties, or otherwise---- Oh behave! HA!)



The way I see it, there are three types of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't.

Let us not forget techies/ Luddites, and the related books/ereaders

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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