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  1. #1
    PentaneC is offline Newbie
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    Question What is the correct?

    I am from NZ and have noticed an increasing amount of News Readers saying in a sentence, "a hundred...." instead of "one hundred..." is this correct, or just some "kiwi" slang creeping into our everyday use of the English language?

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Either way is fine in the US.

  3. #3
    magimagicE is offline Member
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    The "a hundred...." instead of "one hundred..." is natural and normal in spoken BrE when referring to numbers. The "one" is usually only applied when there is a chance the "a" variant may lead to confusion.

    This type of redundancy is often heard when referring to fractions in AmE:

    - One half;
    - One third;
    - One quarter.

    In BrE:

    - A half;
    - A third;
    - A quarter.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Once upon a time you could be certain that BBC newsreaders were using "correct" English. The first time I heard a BBC reporter pronounce the word "nuclear" as "nucular" (one of the most irritating and inexplicable mispronunciations I have ever heard), and he didn't get fired, I knew those days were gone.

    That aside, I don't see "a hundred" as being slang or even necessarily lazy or informal English. It's just another way of saying "one hundred". If a newsreader (or anyone else) here said it, I wouldn't notice.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by magimagicE View Post
    The "a hundred...." instead of "one hundred..." is natural and normal in spoken BrE when referring to numbers. The "one" is usually only applied when there is a chance the "a" variant may lead to confusion.

    This type of redundancy is often heard when referring to fractions in AmE:

    - One half;
    - One third;
    - One quarter.

    In BrE:

    - A half;
    - A third;
    - A quarter.
    I don't think "redundancy" is the right word here.

    I also don't think that there is any AmE/BrE difference here.

    I can certainly ask for a half pound of ham at the deli and not be thought to be using British terms.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't think "redundancy" is the right word here.

    I also don't think that there is any AmE/BrE difference here.

    I can certainly ask for a half pound of ham at the deli and not be thought to be using British terms.
    I think the difference between BrE and AmE here is not the use of "one" or "a", it's the word order. You ask for "a half pound of" and we ask for "half a pound of".
    The same goes for time. It will take you "a half hour" to do something. It will take me "half an hour".

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I think the difference between BrE and AmE here is not the use of "one" or "a", it's the word order. You ask for "a half pound of" and we ask for "half a pound of".
    The same goes for time. It will take you "a half hour" to do something. It will take me "half an hour".
    I would use either one of those formulations.

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by magimagicE View Post
    The "a hundred...." instead of "one hundred..." is natural and normal in spoken BrE when referring to numbers. The "one" is usually only applied when there is a chance the "a" variant may lead to confusion.

    This type of redundancy is often heard when referring to fractions in AmE:

    - One half;
    - One third;
    - One quarter.

    In BrE:

    - A half;
    - A third;
    - A quarter.
    Come to think of it, when Americans say 'a quarter' don't they usually mean a coin?

    b

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I would use either one of those formulations.
    Quite. You have the option. We don't. We say 'half an hour', and only change the word order for extreme emphasis: 'I've been waiting for a good half hour'. (Even this has a hint of 'Americanness', and I think the more common option would be something like 'I've been waiting for at least half an hour'.

    b

  10. #10
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What is the correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Come to think of it, when Americans say 'a quarter' don't they usually mean a coin?

    b
    Or a bag of weed.

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