Results 1 to 8 of 8
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2016
    • Posts: 6
    #1

    misplaced article

    Hello, I'm looking for some help with a sentence submitted by a student in their English exam today. My instinct tells me that I am correct that there is an error there but I'm struggling to give them a concrete grammatical reason why the following is wrong:

    "The UK spent 58 billion dollars which was more than the half of the amount spent by the USA.

    I told the student that the 'the' in bold was not necessary as the context does not point to a specific half. It has become more confusing the more I look at it.

    I appreciate the help!

    josie

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: misplaced article

    "More than half" or "more than a half" are correct. 'The' is wrong for the reason you've given.

    It's a strange sentence. "More than double" or "less than half" are common, meaningful phrases. But if the UK spent more than half that spent by the US, it could also have spent more than ten times the US amount. There might be some ungiven context, though, that makes this a sensible sentence.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,571
    #3

    Re: misplaced article

    Quote Originally Posted by josiewales View Post
    Hello, I'm looking for some help with a sentence submitted by a student in an English exam today. My instinct tells me that I am correct that there is an error there but, I'm struggling to give the student a concrete grammatical reason for why the following is wrong:

    "The UK spent 58 billion dollars, which was more than the half of the amount spent by the USA.

    I told the student that the 'the' in bold was not necessary, as the context does not point to a specific half. It has become more confusing the more I look at it.

    I appreciate the help!

    Josie
    Your answer was exactly right and very clear and adequate. Your student just needs to learn to live with it.

    Raymott is right. It's a weird sentence.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 9,289
    #4

    Re: misplaced article

    I don't find it weird. Journalists commonly report approximate numbers by comparing them with other numbers. X is more than half of Y means "approximately half of Y but somewhat more" in journalistic English. The phrasing is imprecise but not unusual in journalism.
    I am not a teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2016
    • Posts: 6
    #5

    Re: misplaced article

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "More than half" or "more than a half" are correct. 'The' is wrong for the reason you've given.

    It's a strange sentence. "More than double" or "less than half" are common, meaningful phrases. But if the UK spent more than half that spent by the US, it could also have spent more than ten times the US amount. There might be some ungiven context, though, that makes this a sensible sentence.
    Thanks for your feedback! Sometimes the more you look at something, the less clear it becomes. I'll have to look at the full paragraph tomorrow but I guess unless there is some earlier reference to a specific half, I'll leave it at that.
    Thanks again.
    Last edited by josiewales; 27-Apr-2016 at 14:18.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2016
    • Posts: 6
    #6

    Re: misplaced article

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I don't find it weird. Journalists commonly report approximate numbers by comparing them with other numbers. X is more than half of Y means "approximately half of Y but somewhat more" in journalistic English. The phrasing is imprecise but not unusual in journalism.
    Thanks for your input, I understand what you mean but my main gripe with the sentence was the article before the word half "...was more than the half of the amount spent by the USA."

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #7

    Re: misplaced article

    Quote Originally Posted by josiewales View Post
    Sometimes the more you look at something, the less clear it becomes.
    And if you see an error often enough, it can start to look right.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,571
    #8

    Re: misplaced article

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I don't find it weird. Journalists commonly report approximate numbers by comparing them with other numbers. X is more than half of Y means "approximately half of Y but somewhat more" in journalistic English. The phrasing is imprecise but not unusual in journalism.
    It wasn't the imprecision that caught me, and the student's writing isn't bad at all. It just seemed a little round-about. It was hard to tell whether the point was how much the UK spent compared to the US or how little.

    If we'd seen the whole paper, that would probably be clear.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

Similar Threads

  1. [Vocabulary] zero article + plural=definite article the + singular for generalization
    By Yonsu99 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Jul-2014, 06:36
  2. in spite of the fact/although... misplaced modifiers?
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13-Jul-2013, 19:33
  3. [Article] Pls check my article. FCE level
    By tong-pu in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-Apr-2011, 20:56
  4. [Essay] wit/tickets misplaced/hard currency
    By sherishine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-May-2010, 02:14
  5. Write M for Misplaced and C for Correct
    By lindalinda1228 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Aug-2009, 00:50

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •