last/past half year vs. last/past 6 months

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, please compare the following two sentences. The first one is taken from one of the English-Japanese dictionaries I use, and the second one is my original.

1. The financial results of the company for the last half year have been very satisfactory.
2. The results of my monthly English tests at work for the last half year have been very satisfactory.


According to the dictionary, the "last half year" in #1 means "the second half of the (fiscal) year" (i.e. "last half" as opposed to "first half"), not "the last 6 months".
On the other hand, I used "the last half year" to mean "the last 6 months" in #2. Is the phrase idiomatic in #2?
 
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would take 1) to be referring to the most recently completed half of the fiscal year. This will not necessarily be the second half.

    I agree with your analysis of the meaning of 2). I think we would be more likely to say "six months" than "half year".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think we would be more likely to say "six months" than "half year".
    :thumbsup:
    When I was learning Japanese, I discovered the word for "half-year" (I'm therefore not surprised it's in the dictionary) but we don't really use that concept in English. We do, however, use "quarter" in the right context to mean quarter-year.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    When I was learning Japanese, I discovered the word for "half-year" (I'm therefore not surprised it's in the dictionary) but we don't really use that concept in English.
    Yes, I thought so. I also find it interesting that in English "the last/past 12 months" is more common than "the last/past 1 year" (at least in surveys).
     
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