Am I correct in thinking one uses demi when talking about something with an indefinite article and moite with a definite article?

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Graham

Kwiziq community member

5 April 2018

3 replies

Am I correct in thinking one uses demi when talking about something with an indefinite article and moite with a definite article?

This question relates to:
French lesson "Demi, moitié, etc = Half"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 April 2018

5/04/18

Hi Graham, I don't think you can slice it that way. In my understanding it is perfectly OK to say, "Donnez-moi cette demi-baguette."

The distinction is with respect to using it as an adjective (demi/e) or a noun (la moitié).

Une demi-page est rouge. -- A half-page is red.
Une moitié de la page est rouge. -- One half of a page is red.

There are foten used colloquialisms and appreviated forms evolving around demi.

Il est six heures et demie. -- It is half past six.
This is an abbreviation of "...six heures ete une demi-heure".

On se renconte à demie. -- We are meeting at half-past. (This assumes an agreement about which hour one is talking).

Je voudrais un demi. -- I would like a half-pint of beer. (This works only colloquially  in a bar when ordering beer.)

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 April 2018

5/04/18

Darn, again the typos....:

foten --> often.
appreviated --> abbreviated
ete --> et

-- Chris.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

23 April 2018

23/04/18

Hi Graham,

As Chris has already pointed out you will find examples of demi and moitié used with both definite and indefinite articles. I can see where the confusion occurs as in English you only have one word - half.

Demi will usually be used with other words except when you ask for a beer in a bar : Je voudrais un demi s'il vous plaît.

But normally it will be used before the noun it refers to to mean half of it, une demi-heure, une demi-bouteille, une demi-journée, une demi-portion, un demi-verre ... e.g. J'ai fait un demi-marathon, l'hotel est à formule demi-pension.

Moitié is a noun and here are some examples:

J'ai fini la moitié de mon travail , j'ai lu la moitié de mon livre, nous avons mangé la moitié du gateau ( you cannot use demi in that instance - moitié meaning half of that whole).

There are some interesting expressions using demi and moitié , like à demi /à moitié   which mean the same thing, half done.

e.g. une bouteille à demi pleine, un pot à demi plein , un mur à moitié peint, un travail à moitié fini

'Ma moitié' which means my better half, my soul mate, my spouse.

Hope this helps but not easy !

 

 

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