how much is a half a billion

vinci61

Senior Member
Chinese
The original sentence:
To date, Comic Relief's Red Nose Day campaign has raised over a half a billion pounds...

What does a half a billion mean?
For me, I would say a half billion. Am I right? Or are we both right?
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To answer the question: Half a billion, which is also what I would generally say in AE, usually means five hundred million: 500,000,000. (In this case, £500,000,000, half a billion pounds.)

    Traditionally in BE a billion was a million million, not a thousand million. Half a billion pounds would then be £500,000,000,000. I believe that usage is no longer common. In any case, the context does not support that interpretation. Other sources, such as this one, refer to the amount that Red Nose campaigns have raised in terms such such as "£600 million" that are consistent with the first meaning.
     
    Last edited:

    vinci61

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    To answer the question: Half a billion, which is also what I would generally say in AE, usually means five hundred million: 500,000,000. (In this case, £500,000,000, half a billion pounds.)

    Traditionally in BE, a billion was 1,000 million. Half a billion pounds would then be £500,000,000,000. I believe that usage is no longer common. In any case, the context does not support that interpretation. Other sources, such as this one, refer to the amount that Red Nose campaigns have raised in terms such such as "£600 million" that are consistent with the first meaning.
    Thank you for your info. I shall say half a billion next time. I just don't get comfortable with a half a billion. It's odd to me
     
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