I struck a problem with moitie/demi- not a problem with French, but with the English sentence in the exercise. If an English speaker says "I ate half a chicken", it is not possible for an English-speaking person to be certain what the English speaker means. It could mean EITHER he consumed 50% of a chicken OR that he bought half a chicken and ate it all. My point is, that one cannot divine the English speaker's meaning without more information. It follows, in this case, that a test question that demands a choice made between moitie or demi cannot be incorrect. Here, I think, the subtlety (or the casualness) of English speech has not been understood.
Thank you for your feedback! So as to answer your query, could you let us know which specific sentence/test question you are referring to please?
Merci et bonne journée !
Hi Kevin, I don't know that this would make any difference. If I ate half a chicken it doesn't matter whether the other half is still sitting in the store or in my fridge. The point is that half of a chicken is now in my stomach. And that's exactly what "I ate half a chicken" means.
Things sound different when you say "I ate half of the chicken." This implies that there was, maybe, some leftover chicken in the fridge and you ate half of that portion.
I thank Chris for his gastronomic argument, but my point was that a English speaker would probably say "I ate half a chicken" rather than "I ate half OF a chicken". Another example: in the In In the case of chocolate, you only say "un demi-chocolat" if you actually ate a half (piece of) chocolate, but if you refer to half a given quantity of chocolate, then it will be "la moitié du chocolat" .How can a bare English statement,"I ate half a.... ", which lacks the distinctions of French, tell us anything about the quantity? Half of a whole chicken, or the whole of a half chicken?
I'm sorry, but I don't get what you're driving at. You probably wouldn't hear un demi-chocolat very often. Mostly demi- is used with items that are or imply a standard quantity, e.g., demi-liter, demi-seau, demi-baguette, demi-heur, etc.
Chris, it's a simple matter. In a Kwiziq exercise I am asked to decide between moitie and demi in translating an English sentence such as "I ate half a chicken". My submission is that the statement is too vague to decide the question. Take a look at this from Reverso:
"I ate half a cranberry muffin earlier, saving the rest for later.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you would tend to use demi- with more or less established quantities such as a liter, a bucket, a kilo, a baguette, etc. This is not a hard and fast rule, admittedly, but close to it. In those cases where the quantity of the whole is not well established (i.e., chocolate), stick to la moitié. That way you're in the clear in both cases.
Chris, thanks for the reply. I answered the Kwiziq test question as you have just indicated, and it was marked as incorrect. I may not have been in error, but I have let get on with other French lessons and tests. Cheers.
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