<three and a half billion><three and a half of a billion>


Senior Member
--------- will watch the ceremony.
A. three and a half billion
B. three and a half of a billion
Source: Common Mistakes at IELTS

Book's answer: A
My answer: Both of them are correct.

Which one is correct to you? And why?
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The book's right.

    Nobody would ever say 'three and a half of a billion'.

    We say one and a half, two and a half, three and a half . . . etc. And one and a quarter, two and three quarters, five and a third . . . etc.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Hmm... interesting. What do you think "three and a half of a billion" means?
    The only thing it would mean to me is a proportion. "On the average, three and a half of a billion people inherit the ABCD gene from both parents." (Obviously, there is no such thing as half a person, but in statistics that doesn't matter. People often say things like "the average family has 2.5 children and 0.3 dogs.") That might not be the best way to say this - I'd probably say "about one person in 290 million" - but that's what it would mean to me.


    English - England
    Oh well... I saw it as
    A: "How many employees will be on the team and how much will the project cost?"
    B: "Three, and half of a billion."
    A: [faints]


    Senior Member
    And I saw it as a weird way of saying the number 500,000,003.

    How many will be watching tonight's football game?
    Three (us commentators) and half a billion (fans on TV)
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