a / (nothing) half of his life

ortak

Senior Member
Turkish
Paul spent a / (-) half of his life in the Far East.

Hi friends,
It is a sentence from an article exercise.
I thought before half, it is better to use a article, but answer key says leaving the blank empty is correct. Why is that? I think 'Paul spent a half of his life in the Far East' is a better sentence.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd be most likely to say:

    Paul spent half his life in the Far East.

    I couldn't say he spent a half of his life..., but I could say he spent one half of his life..., in which case it would suggest that he spent one half doing one thing and one half another. My brother used to spend the winter in New Zealand: he spent one half of his life out there, the other half in the UK.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    But I found a sentence. Can the articale "a" be omitted?

    I have only told a half of what I saw.
    Hi Sevengem.

    Yes, this is possible, if you want to put a dramatic spin on what you are saying.

    I have even seen I have only told the half of what I saw, which is even more dramatic.

    There is a famous moment in the Bible when the Queen of Sheba says to Solomon the half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me.
     

    word_up

    Senior Member
    I'd be most likely to say:

    Paul spent half his life in the Far East.

    I couldn't say he spent a half of his life..., but I could say he spent one half of his life..., in which case it would suggest that he spent one half doing one thing and one half another. My brother used to spend the winter in New Zealand: he spent one half of his life out there, the other half in the UK.
    But it seems logical - there are two halves, if you refer to one half, it should either have "the" (when the reader knows which one) or "a".

    It's similar to: "Almost half of the workers did not show up at work that day".
    What is the rationale behind not using "Almost a half" ?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    But it seems logical - there are two halves, if you refer to one half, it should either have "the" (when the reader knows which one) or "a".

    It's similar to: "Almost half of the workers did not show up at work that day".
    What is the rationale behind not using "Almost a half" ?
    There isn't any; I think it's more of a verbal habit that has developed.
     

    word_up

    Senior Member
    Thanks - so I guess I can call it an exception from the rules of using a/the..

    I think it's somewhat similar to part, e.g. "They are part of the team" .
     
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