Halve or Half – Difference, Usage and Meaning

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

The English language has various words that may change meaning depending on their part of speech function. For example, using a word as a verb, adjective or noun can infer different things within a sentence.

Halve and half are commonly confused words related to one another but very different in their meaning and use.

Let’s take a closer look at how these two words are used so you don’t confuse them in your own material.

What’s the Difference Between Halve and Half?

Halve or Half Difference Usage Meaning

The main difference between halve and half is their parts of speech. Halve is a verb that describes splitting something into two equal parts. Half is the noun to define half of what has been divided or 50% of something.

However, halves can also be used as the plural form of half to describe the two halves that have been split in half from the whole.

Halve Definition and Use

To halve something is the action taken to split something into two equal parts. It is always used as a verb.

For example:

  • The 50/50 raffle will halve the money, with half going to charity and the other half back to the winning ticket.
  • Please halve each cake round through the middle so we can double the layers when we stack them.

Half Definition and Use

Half can be used as a noun, adjective or adverb to define 50% of something. Although specific to exactly 50%, the word is also used to mean approximately 50% of something.

When Used as a Noun

When half is used as a noun, it means that there is approximately or exactly 50% of something.

For example:

  • My children ate the remaining half of the pie, leaving nothing for me to have.
  • She had half an apple as a snack.
  • I only need half of that yard of fabric to complete the project.

When Used as an Adjective

When half is used as an adjective, it describes something partially divided or only 50% finished.

For example:

  • I love waiting until after Halloween for half-priced candy.
  • The casserole was only half-baked despite being in the oven for over an hour.

When Used as an Adverb

Halve or Half Difference Usage Meaning 1

When half is used as an adverb, a meaning is assigned to it in order to describe a verb within the sentence.

For example:

  • He wasn’t half as handy as his wife, which is why she did the yard work, and he cleaned the house.

Using Halves as a Noun

The plural form of half is halves, not halfs, and is always used in noun form.

For example:

  • She offered me both halves of the apple, but I wanted to share with her.
  • If you split that into two equal halves, you might easily fit the shelving unit back together.

Let’s Review

Half is always used as a noun to mean 50% of something. Its plural form is halves and is used to indicate two equal parts of the same thing. It can also be used as an adjective or adverb to modify another part of speech.

Halve is always used as a verb to describe the action of splitting something into two equal parts.

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