# Thread: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

1. ## 2/4 , 3/4 in English

Hello, teachers:
1/4 is one quarter.
so I am wondering if 2/4 is two fourths or half.
3/4 three fourths? or three quarter?

Could you confirm it?Thanks for your help!

2. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

Originally Posted by WUKEN
Hello, teachers:
1/4 is one quarter.
so I am wondering if 2/4 is two fourths or half.
3/4 three fourths? or three quarter?

Could you confirm it?Thanks for your help!
One half

Three quarters.

3. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

1/4 is one quarter.
so I am wondering if 2/4 is two fourths or half.
3/4 three fourths? or three quarter?
It might depend on how stupid you believe the writer to be. It's one-half...if you automatically take the liberty of reducing it to lowest terms. There's nothing grammatically wrong with reading it as two-fourths. That's precisely what it is. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the writer is sufficiently astute to realize that 2/4 is equal to 1/2, and wrote 2/4 instead of 1/2 for a reason and intended it to be read exactly as written. Maybe he's writing an elementary math text and explaining the concept of reducing fractions to lowest terms for the benefit of those who do not possess the lightning-quick mathematical instincts that Anglika possesses. Or maybe it's a musical time signature, in which case it would be read as two-four time (and three-quarter or three-four time, in case anyone is curious). Who knows.

Greg

4. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

Two other points: 'three quarters' would lose its plural in a compound adjective: 'a three-quarter-pound hammer'. And in some contexts it's normal not to reduce a fraction: I've heard things like 'Bolt knocked a huge 20 hundredths off the record' [not 'a fifth of a second'] or 'When the request arrives, the computer validates it in 500 ms' [not 'half a second']. The reduced fraction makes sense in cases like these, but not reducing it may be normal (especially in a technical context - when precision engineering was done in England using inches, a common abbreviation for a thousandth of an inch' was "a thou'" [with an unvoiced 'th-']. Car mechanics would say things like 'I set the gap on the spark plugs to 20 thou'' [not 'a fiftieth of an inch']). (Metrication was only introduced about forty years ago; for all I know some (older) mechanics are probably still measuring in thou'.)

b

5. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

Thanks for all of your clarifications.
Sorry! I didn't express my question precisely.
If I would like to say 3/4 in my sentence, I am wondering how to say .
For example:
Three fourths of the students walk to school every day.
or
Three quarters of the students walk to school every day.

Thanks a lot!

6. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

If I would like to say 3/4 in my sentence, I am wondering how to say .
For example:
Three fourths of the students walk to school every day.
or
Three quarters of the students walk to school every day.

Yes, these are correct...just don't forget the hyphen: three-fourths and three-quarters.

Greg

7. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

Just to drive home the point: Either one is fine.

8. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

I'm afraid this is another Am/Br difference. BNC has over 400 instances of 'three quarters' and none of 'three fourths', so in the UK use 'three quarters'.

b

9. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

I'll add that to my growing list.

(By the way, in music, it's always "three-quarters" for the time signature.)

10. ## Re: 2/4 , 3/4 in English

(By the way, in music, it's always "three-quarters" for the time signature.)
Interesting. It isn't where I'm from, that's all I can say.

Seriously, Barb...you are the very first person I've ever heard say it that way, and I am not a stranger to things musical.

Well, that's English for you.

Greg

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