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

#### Mnemon

##### 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

My answer: Both of them are correct.

Which one is correct to you? And why?
Thanks.

• #### heypresto

##### Senior Member
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.

#### PaulQ

##### Banned
My answer: Both of them are correct.
Hmm... interesting. What do you think "three and a half of a billion" means?

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
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.

#### PaulQ

##### Banned
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]

#### boozer

##### 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)

#### RM1(SS)

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

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