Two by two/ by twos

Dear life

Senior Member
India- Bengali
Can we use the phrase 'two by two' the same way as 'one by one'?
Come one by one (no more than one at a time - one by one successively).
Come two by two (no more than two at a time- two by two successively).
Or should we say- Come by twos?
Please help!!
  • Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    In British English, we often use "in twos".

    The younger school children have to walk along the pavement (ie sidewalk) in twos for safety.

    That means TWO children side by side. It does NOT mean "no more than two".


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In the USA I would expect:

    Enter one at time.
    Enter two at a time.

    Only in the childrens' rhyme do we hear "two by two" and that meant that two different species entered two at a time and that was for the sake of rhyming.

    The animals went in two by two
    The elephant and the kangaroo

    The other lyrics make no sense to me (Did Noah allow three ants, three wasps and three bumblebees?):

    The animals went in three by three
    The wasp, the ant and the bumblebee
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