half a loaf / half of a loaf

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

In the following phrases, is "of" omitted after "half" and before "a" ? What part of speech is "half"? Is it a noun?
half a loaf
half a dollar
half a dozen people
half a month

Thank you very much.
 
  • corner1912

    Member
    Chinese
    Oddly, in "half of a loaf", 'half' is a noun.

    From W-R learners (no 'of'):
    //
    adj. [~ + a/the + noun]
    1. a quantity or amount equal to one half of something;
      (½):half a loaf; half a dozen people. //

    Hi bennymix, in your answer you provided an explanation from W-R learners, which is

    //
    adj. [~ + a/the + noun]
    1. a quantity or amount equal to one half of something;
      (½):half a loaf; half a dozen people. //
    In my understanding, accroding to this explanation, "half" is an adj in "half a loaf; half a dozen people", could you please tell me why you say "in 'half of a loaf', 'half' is a noun"? Do I understand this explanation wrong? Thank you!
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    We put a noun before "OF".
    the winter of last year (winter is a noun)
    the gate of the school (gate is a noun)


    We put an adjective before a noun, instead of a preposition. "OF" is a preposition, in my opinion.
    pretty girl
    fast car
    tasty food.

    "Pretty", "fast", and “tasty” are examples of adjective.
     

    corner1912

    Member
    Chinese
    We put a noun before "OF".
    the winter of last year (winter is a noun)
    the gate of the school (gate is a noun)


    We put an adjective before a noun, instead of a preposition. "OF" is a preposition, in my opinion.
    pretty girl
    fast car
    tasty food.

    "Pretty", "fast", and “tasty” are examples of adjective.

    Oh, you mean, "half" in "half of a loaf" is a noun, but in "half a loaf" is an adj.?

    I get it. Thank you stephenlearner!
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    adj. [~ + a/the + noun]
    1. a quantity or amount equal to one half of something;
      (½):half a loaf; half a dozen people. //
    In my understanding, accroding to this explanation, "half" is an adj in "half a loaf; half a dozen people", could you please tell me why you say "in 'half of a loaf', 'half' is a noun"? Do I understand this explanation wrong? Thank you!
    I think that it is wrong.
    All the following express the same idea:
    A:
    1. I gave him one half of a loaf
    2. I gave him a half of a loaf
    3. I gave him half of a loaf
    4. I gave him half.

    In all the above, "half" is clearly a noun, and "of a loaf" is clearly an adjectival modifier

    B:
    1. I gave him half a loaf. -> Half is a noun. (We cannot replace it with "two") This is a strange construction because we cannot (or at least do not say) "I gave him quarter a loaf." :cross:
    This construction has an omission1 - the "of" is missing - "a loaf" has the same function as "a day" in "The workers were paid $100 a day." - despite the missing "of", a loaf and "a day" are both adjectival modifiers.

    C:
    1. I gave him a half loaf -> a half loaf would be a loaf that is baked to be half the size of a normal loaf. I'm not sure that there is such a thing as a half loaf, but there is such a thing as a half pint - and in this "half" is an adjective/quantifier.

    1 This probably comes from laziness when saying "Half of a Y" where " the pronunciation of "f of a" runs together - half of a" -> half'fova"-> half'ova -> half'va -> half'a - and the "of" sound is lost.

    Oh, you mean, "half" in "half of a loaf" is a noun, but in "half a loaf" is an adj.?
    No, this is not so. You can test it by putting another adjective there: half a loaf :tick: but big a loaf :cross:
    two a loaf :cross:
     
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    corner1912

    Member
    Chinese
    I think that it is wrong.
    All the following express the same idea:
    A:
    1. I gave him one half of a loaf
    2. I gave him a half of a loaf
    3. I gave him half of a loaf
    4. I gave him half.

    In all the above, "half" is clearly a noun, and "of a loaf" is clearly an adjectival modifier

    B:
    1. I gave him half a loaf. -> Half is a noun. (We cannot replace it with "two") This is a strange construction because we cannot (or at least do not say) "I gave him quarter a loaf." :cross:
    This construction has an omission1 - the "of" is missing - "a loaf" has the same function as "a day" in "The workers were paid $100 a day." - despite the missing "of", a loaf and "a day" are both adjectival modifiers.

    C:
    1. I gave him a half loaf -> a half loaf would be a loaf that is baked to be half the size of a normal loaf. I'm not sure that there is such a thing as a half loaf, but there is such a thing as a half pint - and in this "half" is an adjective/quantifier.

    1 This probably comes from laziness when saying "Half of a Y" where " the pronunciation of "f of a" runs together - half of a" -> half'fova"-> half'ova -> half'va -> half'a - and the "of" sound is lost.


    No, this is not so. You can test it by putting another adjective there: half a loaf :tick: but big a loaf :cross:
    two a loaf :cross:

    This is really helpful and informative. I still need to digest it for a while. Thank you for your help PaulQ!
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    According to Lexico:
    all the/our/this money · half the/our/this money (all and half are predeterminers)
    all of the money / half of the money (all and half are pronouns)
    some of the money / part of the money (some and part are nouns)
     

    corner1912

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you lingobingo! But still the more I look for answers, the more confused I get.

    According to almost all the answers I can find, I made a chart below:

    interchangeable, but can not lack "the/your/…"half of your dinnerhalf your dinner
    half of the timehalf the time
    half of the pizzahalf the pizza
    half of the moneyhalf the money
    can not use "of" in these phraseshalf an hour
    He is half your size
    (sorry I can not edit this table)

    Could somebody please tell me what the differences between "half your dinner" and "He is half your size"? If I can add an "of" in "half your dinner", then why can not I put "of" in "half your size"? How can I choose which structure to use?

    And there are two examples in Lexico:
    [as predeterminer] ‘half an hour’
    [as predeterminer] ‘half the audience were blubbing away’
    Half | Definition of Half by Lexico

    I assume that "half of the audience were blubbing away" is also correct, then why "half of an hour" is wrong? Do "half" in these two phrases have more different attributions than their common point as "predeterminer"?
     
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