a third as much as / a third more

Hyunee

Member
Korean
Is the calculation right?

For example, Men exercise 9 times a week
1. Women exercise a half as much as men. (Women do 4.5 times a week.)
2. Women exercise a third as much as men. (Women do 3 times a week.)
3. Women exercise a third more than men. (Women do 12(9 + 3) times a week or just 3 times a week?)

No.2 and No.3 mean the same?
 
  • Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    Copyright,


    Thank you for the answer.
    I would like to ask one more question related to the sentences above.

    As far as I know, the phrases like "a half more" or" a half taller" is not used.(ungrammatical)
    However, I find that the phrases such as a third, a fourth, two thirds, three fourths...+ more, taller than are used.

    I think;
    "Women exercise a half more than men" simply means that women do 13.5(9+4.5) times a week.
    However, It seems that this kind of combination makes native speakers confused.
    Is this because the way of calculating this question could be vague, uncertain or something else?
    Could you tell me why this combination makes you puzzled?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Interesting ... I don't have a problem with "Women exercise a third as much as men." I don't use it, but I understand it and I guess I'm missing why it might be wrong.

    (Although I do have a problem with correcting in text boxes that can't be quoted.) :D
     

    Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    So, you mean that the expressions like "a third, a fourth, a fifth, two thirds, three fourths" can't go with "as much as" but
    these expressions can only go with "more than" or "~er than"? Can this be a difference between BE and AE?




    I need an answer about why:
    Half can not be with "more than" and "~er than" while it is with "as much as".
    What makes native speakers confused and puzzled when you hear this combination?
     

    Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    "Women exercise a third as much as men." I don't use it, but I understand it and I guess I'm missing why it might be wrong.
    I asked another native speaker about this and he said this phrase is correct.
    So, I think it is a matter of personal preference but it would be great if someone explains to me whether it is grammatically correct or not.

    Copyright, you said, you don't use the expression, then how will you express the same idea?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Copyright, you said, you don't use the expression, then how will you express the same idea?
    I just meant that I've never had occasion to use it because it's nothing I've had to say, but if I did need to say it, I would probably say it like it is: "Women exercise a third as much as men." Or, if I were adding emphasis, which would probably be called for: "Women exercise just one-third as much as men."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think the formulation in sentence (2) is unusual; it's more usual to talk about amounts more than or less than something else. I might say, 'Women exercise two-thirds less than men', or 'Men exercise three times more than women'.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    25 percent as much = a quarter as much
    25 percent more = a quarter more
    50 percent as much = half as much (no "a")
    50 percent more = half again as much (not "(a) half more")

    The problem is that "(a) half" is a special fraction used since antiquity to refer to only part of a thing, whereas the other fractions are derived from number words ("quarter" from French "quatre", "a third" from "the third part", etc.).
     

    Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    I think the formulation in sentence (2) is unusual; it's more usual to talk about amounts more than or less than something else. I might say, 'Women exercise two-thirds less than men', or 'Men exercise three times more than women'.
    Let's say "women exercise a little but men exercise much."
    Is it telling us about amouts or the number of times?
    I think the verb "exercise" can be measured by both amount and the number of times.
    So, I would like you to rethink about the (2) from the point of amount.
    The word "much" is also highly related to amount.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    You can't switch from exact terms (one-third as much, two-thirds less) to general terms (more, less).

    When we speak of "exercise" as a general idea, we have no idea of what sort of exercise is being done, or for how long, or how often. All we know is that if men spend six hours a week exercising, women spend two. So the measure here is time ... or at best, caloric expenditure, which is not mentioned. Actually, we don't know what the measure is, so it's just speculation.

    Your first sentence is not how we would express even the general concept. Here is a corrected version:
    Women exercise a little but men exercise more.

    But even that sounds weird to native speakers: What's a little? And how much more is "more"? The sentence is so general that it's meaningless, so it isn't worth the time we spend reading it.

    When you talk about amount or number of times, you're introducing a measure that hasn't been discussed in a general statement. Those values can be used, of course, but they haven't been in your original question, and if they were used, you would need to say them outright, like this.

    Men exercise six times/hours a week; women exercise two-thirds less. (Although in real life, you would say "Men exercise six times/hours a week, but women only two.")
     

    Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    The problem is that "(a) half" is a special fraction used since antiquity to refer to only part of a thing, whereas the other fractions are derived from number words ("quarter" from French "quatre", "a third" from "the third part", etc.).

    I read again and again but can't find the reason why "half" must not be with "more, ~er than" structure.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    As forero said, when we hear "half" we immediately think of 50% of something. "Half as much" means "take 50% from something else". "Half again as much" means "add 50% to something else."
     

    Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    To make it clear, I would rather ask like this.
    Is this structure correct? - "a third(fraction) as much as"
     

    Hyunee

    Member
    Korean
    As forero said, when we hear "half" we immediately think of 50% of something. "Half as much" means "take 50% from something else". "Half again as much" means "add 50% to something else."
    Oh, I see.
    "Half" always means minus(-) while the other fractions could be plus(+) or minus(-) in the context.
    That is why "Half"(-) doesn't sound natural with more and ~er which always mean a plus.
    Therefore, this kind of combination is completely contradictory.
     
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