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"one and a half hour" or "one and a half hour

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1.5 hours...

Unread postby eric_p_m » Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:07 am

Dear curious foreign language learners,

It shouldn't even take me an hour and a half to answer this post. :wink:

Blatant and Sapphire were correct in their post at the following URL: http://www.englishclub.com/tefl/viewtopic.php?t=1584 .

x > 1 = plural

When "x" is greater than one, plurality is required for countable nouns. 1.5 is definitely greater than the first positive integer.

If your native language doesn't have the concept of countable nouns, I would be able to understand your difficulty of comprehending this, but if you studied mathematics in school, then there is no reason to ask this question... to paraphrase Sapphire. 8)


Sincerely,

Eric Paul Monroe

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Unread postby odyssey » Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:26 am

The "correct" form is:
one hour and a half
a mile and a half
one ounce and a quarter


However, in normal English usage, native speakers often say:
one and a half hours
one and a half miles
one and a quarter ounces


If you doubt the "correct" form, try converting an hour and a half (rather than one hour and a half) into plural :roll:
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Unread postby weso » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:33 pm

Odyssey, I have some comments on your so-called correct form, and so does Swan (Practical English Usage, 276 - 'half'). At least this is the topic reference in my very dog-eared 1985 edition.

To quote:

"The expression 'one and a half' is followed by a plural noun."

As a native English speaker, and a qualified teacher with quite a few decades under my belt, I can assure you that your suggestiion of the "correct" form is simply an alternative way of expressing the same thing - albeit correct in itself. 'An hour and a half' is also possible.

The plural noun in this thread is 'hours'. 'One and a half', as a phrase, qualifies 'hours'. 'One and a half' tells us how many; 'hours' tells us what. Other contributors have explained why 'one and a half' is used to qualify a plural noun. We could just as easily have 'one and a half cakes'.

This holds for any expression involving 'one and a (fraction)...' + any plural noun:

'One and a quarter minutes.'

'One and five-eigths inches.'

'An hour and a half' is a completely different structure. Here a noun (hour) is placed first, qualified by the indefinite article 'an' - this makes this part singular. It's followed by the conjunction 'and' (adding something to the single hour.) We then have another indefinite article 'a', followed (as it must be) by another singular noun - half. Thus this is all singular. Logically, we know that if we add a whole and a part we get more than one - but this is arithmetic, not language.

'One hour and a half' can be analysed in the same way - 'one' serving the same function as 'an' or 'a'.

This expression joins two singular nouns - 'an/one hour' and 'a half'. There is absolutely no possibility of making either plural, neither is there any need.

If we do have more than one for the first noun we keep the same form, but make it plural:

'Two hours and a half', 'five hours and a half', etc.
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Unread postby Alex » Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:18 pm

Hi everyone,
How difficult it is to log in here:It's my first day.
I was going through this issue today, a little late :D
Anyway, I was taught that only countable nouns from two and more should be considered plural, so I would say that it is 'one and a half hour' although it is true that we do more often hear 'an hour and a half'. Am I wrong? :?
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plurality...

Unread postby eric_p_m » Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:31 pm

Dear Alex,

Your teacher was probably thinking about positive integers above one while he or she should have told you all (both positive and negative) integers except one (both positive and negative), including zero, require plurality.

Any sum over or under the positive whole integer one would constitute the need for a plural marker: 1.01 hours, -.11 degrees, and -1.011 nanometers. To reinforce, any number except +1 or -1 requires a plural morpheme marker.

Here, linguistics reflects our current understanding of mathematics. A long time ago, people hadn't even discovered fractions or decimals places yet. Examine the word integer itself: "untouchable".

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/integer


Sincerely,

Eric Paul Monroe

http://www.eric-tesol.com/
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Unread postby Alex » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:18 pm

Dear Eric,
Thanks for your thorough and detailed answer, which has been helpful yet lead me to another question. :?:
Fractions and decimals are 'countable'.
But linguistically, when we talk about count(able) nouns, the singular form of the noun means the form of a word used when talking or writing about one thing: or denotes a unit quantity.
Another quote from a dictionary : A language has grammatical number when its nouns are subdivided into classes according to the quantity they express, such that:
1)Every noun belongs to a single number class. (Number partitions nouns into disjoint classes.)
2)Noun modifiers (such as adjectives) and verbs have different forms for each number class, and must be inflected to match the number of the nouns they refer to. (Number is an agreement category.)


This makes me wonder, how can we count a countable noun in decimals or fractions? Shouldn't they be counted in integers?
Hence, one and a half hour, 1.75 kilometer, 0.5 degree, etc?
I might be wrong, and do partly agree with the contradicting opinions, but am still not totally convinced. :roll:
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uncountable/ countable nouns...

Unread postby eric_p_m » Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:42 pm

Dear Alex,

You are welcome. At the same time, be careful. Logically, if you will agree that 1.57 does not equal 2, then you should be able to agree with the grammar logic behind countable nouns.

If you would like to be convinced more, heed my advice: now, you should realize and distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns. You seem to have a good idea between what the grammatical differences. As a foreign language learner, I would remind you that English isn't your native language and you have more than one native speaker of the target language trained to teach the language you wish to learn telling you the correct way. If you don't follow our example, then I can only say that an English speaker would be able to understand your meaning, but at the same time that person would realize that English is not your mother tongue. You just have to ask yourself which proficiency level you wish to attain.

If you have further questions, feel free to visit me inside my on-line school and talk to me directly there by clicking on the green "Click here for LIVE HELP" button to open a secure chat window with me.


Sincerely,

Eric Paul Monroe

http://www.eric-tesol.com/
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Re: uncountable/ countable nouns...

Unread postby Alex » Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:39 am

Dear Eric,

Thanks for your prompt reply which I found rather offensive and ambiguous.
Let me go over something:


Dear Alex,

You are welcome. At the same time, be careful. Logically, if you will agree that 1.57 does not equal 2, then you should be able to agree with the grammar logic behind countable nouns.

If you would like to be convinced more, heed my advice: now, you should realize and distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns. You seem to have a good idea between what the grammatical differences. As a foreign language learner, I would remind you that English isn't your native language and you have more than one native speaker of the target language trained to teach the language you wish to learn telling you the correct way. <- What exactly do you mean here? Are you simply being rude or what?

If you don't follow our example <- Who do you mean by "our"?,

then I can only say that an English speaker would be able to understand your meaning, but at the same time that person would realize that English is not your mother tongue. <- Just because I put that 'hour' singular instead of plural? Eric, what makes you think that all native speakers of English agree with you? Don't you think you are being dogmatic? Many, native speakers that is, DO think and USE singular form in that case.

You just have to ask yourself which proficiency level you wish to attain. <- What has proficiency level got to do here? It's just a simple Singular or Plural grammar question!!

If you have further questions, feel free to visit me inside my on-line school and talk to me directly there by clicking on the green "Click here for LIVE HELP" button to open a secure chat window with me. <- Thanks, but I really have better things to do. Plus, if you can't provide a convincing explanation here, can you there?
I can't help but think that you are propagandizing your website without being able to give me any convincing answer.


Yours Sincerely.
Alex
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cordial response...

Unread postby eric_p_m » Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:57 am

Dear Alex,

I think that you misunderstood my tone. If you would like my further advice, approach me next time with respect. Otherwise, consult the following URLs for your linguistic and professional growth:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hour

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tact


Sincerely,

Eric Paul Monroe

http://www.eric-tesol.com/
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Re: cordial response...

Unread postby Alex » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:12 am

Dear Eric,

Thank you for your reply and excuse me if I misunderstood you. But some of your phrases, although now I understand that you didn't mean to, sound somewhat offending from the listener's point of view.
Anyway, I DO appreciate your time and kindness in offering the URLs, which I referred to and found helpful.

Sincerely Yours,

Alex.
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