# Fractions

We can describe numbers **smaller than one** by using decimals or **fractions**. Today, most systems use decimals, but it is still useful to know how to read and say simple fractions in English.

Look at these examples of fractions:

We write: | We say: |
---|---|

½ |
a half OR one half |

¼ |
a quarter OR one quarter |

¾ |
three quarters |

⅓ |
a third OR one third |

⅔ |
two thirds |

⅕ |
a fifth OR one fifth |

⅗ |
three fifths |

⅛ |
an eighth OR one eighth |

⅝ |
five eighths |

1½ |
one and a half |

5¾ |
five and three quarters |

Although the system of fractions is not used much these days, we commonly use a few simple fractions in everyday speech, for example:

- They phoned
**half an hour**ago. - Hurry up! The bus leaves in
**a quarter of an hour**. - The police station is about
**three quarters of a mile**past the traffic lights.

Note that after "one and a half", the noun is plural:

- Go straight on for
**one and a half kilometres**. (OR ...one kilometre and a half) - We had to wait for
**one and a half hours**. (OR ...an hour and a half)