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Half an hour or a half hour?



 
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Half an hour or a half hour? #1 (permalink) Thu Apr 22, 2004 13:53 pm   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

Hi,

What sounds better - half an hour or a half hour? Are both versions correct? Thanks.
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Half an hour #2 (permalink) Thu Apr 22, 2004 21:29 pm   Half an hour
 

Hi,

Half an hour is the usual expression.

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Half an hour or a half hour? #3 (permalink) Fri May 12, 2006 11:16 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

Well, I usually use "half an hour" too. I'm not sure if "a half hour" is correct. It sounds a bit awkward to me.
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Half an hour or a half hour? #4 (permalink) Fri May 12, 2006 11:21 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

chocolatee wrote:
Well, I usually use "half an hour" too. I'm not sure if "a half hour" is correct. It sounds a bit awkward to me.


A half hour is not awkward. Alan's answer was a little incomplete, because he told you that "half an hour" is the usual expression, but he didn't tell you that both expressions are correct and interchangeable. There's nothing wrong with either expression, and we use them both.
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Half an hour #5 (permalink) Fri May 12, 2006 12:05 pm   Half an hour
 

Hi chocolatee,

I agree that a half hour in isolation does sound a bit awkward. I think it depends in which context you use it. Take these two sentences:

I'll see you in half an hour - it would be unusual to say I'll see you in a half hour.

On the other hand you would say: The programme lasts 30 minutes it is a half hour programme.

In other words for descriptions/measurements of time, I prefer half an hour but if you use it adjectivally with another noun, I would prefer a half hour as in a half hour session/journey/period

Alan
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Half an hour #6 (permalink) Fri May 12, 2006 17:02 pm   Half an hour
 

Alan wrote:
I'll see you in half an hour - it would be unusual to say I'll see you in a half hour.


I agree with everything else you said, Alan, but it would not be unusual to say, "I'll see you in a half hour." Where I am, the two expressions are completely interchangeable, seem to be equally common, and neither one sounds unusual.
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Half an hour or a half hour? #7 (permalink) Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:26 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

"Let's spend half an hour getting our stuff together." That sounds a little better in my opinion than "Let's spend a half hour..." or "Let's do this for a half hour," both of which sound a bit awkward compared with their "half-an-hour" counterparts. However, I think in the vernacular, both are acceptable and both can roll off the tongue when you don't over-analyze it. Some of it just depends on the person and the situation.
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Half an hour or a half hour? #8 (permalink) Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:37 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

Hi. First, mr. Alan was wrong to say DEPENDS IN. Sometimes, i like pointing out others' mistakes. Let's take it easy! Both are grammatically right! That's my first comment! However, half an hour is more generally used as people might've created it before. I dont know how english is developing but i know here in vietnam we usually have a common idiom saying that language is right the whole universe and we just know how to live on it not inhabit it.
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Half an hour or a half hour? #9 (permalink) Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:13 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

Hi VW,

My sentence: I think it depends in which context you use it isn't wrong as you suggest. The verb 'depends' stands on its own and the preposition 'in' isn't related to it but refers to the verb 'use'. Do you follow that?

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Half an hour or a half hour? #10 (permalink) Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:21 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

Vietanhpham_Winter wrote:
Hi. First, mr. Alan was wrong to say DEPENDS IN. Sometimes, i like pointing out others' mistakes. Let's take it easy! Both are grammatically right! That's my first comment! However, half an hour is more generally used as people might've created it before. I dont know how english is developing but i know here in vietnam we usually have a common idiom saying that language is right the whole universe and we just know how to live on it not inhabit it.


This is another example where you blatantly ignore the very basic rules of the English language while trying to give advice. If you don't stop this behaviour yourself I will do it for you.

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Half an hour or a half hour? #11 (permalink) Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:35 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

Hi Torsten,

I don't say this very often, but I agree with Alan!

Here's another example I found: 'It was a half hour drive from the Pinewood Studios.' I think it's also possible to say: 'It was a half hour's drive from the Pinewood Studios.' Yet in the first sentence I would suggest to put a hyphen between half and hour. Perhaps I'm wrong. I suggest we let Alan look into this one more time.

But when do you usually use: 'it depends on...'?

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Half an hour or a half hour? #12 (permalink) Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:50 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

In this case the long version would be "it depends on in which context." However, that is genuinely awkward with those two prepositions hanging out there. It feels confusing to a native speaker. It's understandable, but uncomfortable. So, we leave out the "on." Everyone understands that the "on" is intended, but it's more comfortable not to say it.
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Half an hour or a half hour? #13 (permalink) Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:58 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

I beg to butt in. I was told that a/an is a kind of marker serving to intensify individuation (+individual). If that is true, could I think of the subject phrases as:

1. Half an hour = Half (an hour) = Half the unity which is an hour = Half of an hour, viewing "an hour" as a unity (idividuality); and
2. A half hour = A (half hour) = the unity per se which is a half-hour, viewing "an half-hour" as a unity (idividuality)?

Thank you!
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Half an hour or a half hour? #14 (permalink) Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:11 am   Half an hour or a half hour?
 

"It depends on in which context." doesn't sound awkward if you say: it depends on, in which context...
Secondly, don't forget the hyphen in it's a half-hour programme.
As for prepositions. The double preposition that I see all the time is "off of" as in he got off of the train. Once you have seen it once, believe me, you will see it regularly.
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