0.5 unit, 1.5 units?

JohnDR

Senior Member
Mandarin
When something is countable but less than one unit, would you use the singular or plural form? For example, 0.5 unit or 0.5 units?

When it's not a integer, would you say 1.5 units or 1.5 unit?

Thank you!
 
  • cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    It is units on both occasions. There was a thread which discussed whether one uses the singular or plural after 0.5 in the not too distant past, but I don't seem to be able to find it...
     

    ywf

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you a million for helping me rediscover the singular/plural world after my years of learning English, cycloneviv, cyberpedant. I have misunderstood it for years!

    From now on, I should say "There was a melon this morning; but there are 0.3 melons now. Who ate it?" OMG! It Is Weird to my ear! Anyway, I'll get used to it with time. :D
     
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    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    "It Is Weird to my ear!"

    To mine as well. It doesn't seem to make sense, but the noun seems to agree with the number closest to it, regardless of its actual quantity. "There are 0.3 melons now" could also be said: "There are three tenths of a melon now."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Just to be sure we are only speaking hypothetically, in everyday conversation I wouldn't use "0.3" when referring to what remains of a melon. I would say "there is only a third of a melon left" or "who ate most of the/that melon?" :)

    Like the others, I would say "0.5 units" when referring to units of something.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would actually say, 'nought point three of a melon' or 'zero point three of a melon' and write '0.3 melon'.
     

    JohnDR

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    There are 0.3 melons now" could also be said: "There are three tenths of a melon now."
    So, for the second sentence, "There are three tenths of a melon now." we still use "are"?

    By the way, when I quote a complete sentence, like the above, should I add a comma after "... a melon now." ?

    Thank you!
     

    BODYholic

    Senior Member
    Chinese Cantonese
    I would actually say, 'nought point three of a melon' or 'zero point three of a melon' and write '0.3 melon'.
    I am with you on this. I was taught to use plural on countable units which are greater than 1. Hence, 0.5unit and 1.5units.
    It could be regional or perhaps, I have left school too long.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I am with you on this. I was taught to use plural on countable units which are greater than 1. Hence, 0.5unit and 1.5units.
    It could be regional or perhaps, I have left school too long.
    I think part of the problem is that these are things that you will not actually say, except when you're reading out a problem from a maths book or something similar. In real life we'd be talking about 'half a melon' or 'three-quarters of a melon', rather than '0.5 melon' or '0.75 melon', and because of that I'd rather not say 'point five melons'.

    If we're talking about real units of measurement, would folks all say 'point nine metre' (rather than 'point nine metres') for 0.9m? (Although again, I'd probably say 90 centimetres - or even more likely, 'about three feet'!)
     
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    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Definitely "point nine metres". I might be more likely to say "90 centimetres", but it depends on context. I don't think "point x" is really that rare in spoken language, although it is perhaps slightly technical. For example, I will have a injection of "zero point eight mls (millilitres)" of fluid when I have my allergy desensitisation appointment with the doctor next week.
     

    Wobby

    Senior Member
    English [England]
    I would still say 'nought point nine metres', and write 0.9 metres or 0.9m. Furthermore, it would be 90 centimetres, or 90cm. But in your example, because you said 'nought point three of a melon', because of the presence of 'of a', then you don't need to pluralise. But basically, unless it is specifically 1 [of something], then you have to pluralise the word following. :)
     

    Omega Force

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hello.

    Do you say "0.5 point" or "0.5 points"? With or without the "s"?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

    <<Merged with an earlier thread.>>
     
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