Demi, moitié, etc = Half

In French, there are three different ways to express half .

la moitié de [quelque chose] = half -the- [something]

J'ai bu la moitié de la bouteille.    
I drank half the bottle

Tu as mangé la moitié du gâteau.
You ate half the cake.

Elle a gardé la moitié des bonbons pour plus tard.
She kept half the sweets for later.

Il ne mange qu'une moitié du biscuit.
He only eats one half of the biscuit.

La moitié de means half -the- [something]. It is always feminine.

Note that you can also say une moitié de to express one half of [something].

 

un/une demi-[nom] = half a [noun]

J'ai bu une demi-bouteille.
I drank half a bottle.


J'ai rempli un demi-seau d'eau.
I filled half a bucket of water.

Un/une demi-[nom] means half a [noun]
Un/une agree in gender with the object it refers to, BUT demi- never changes!

Note that the object referred to is attached to demi with a hyphen.


[nom] et demi/demie = [noun] and a half

Marc a quinze ans et demi.
Marc is fifteen and a half.


J'ai bu une bouteille et demie
I drank a bottle and a half


Il a rempli un cahier et demi.
He filled one notebook and a half.

[nom] et demi/demie means [noun] and a half.
Demi here agrees in gender with the object it refers to.

Note that et demi is placed after the object it refers to.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Slang/Expression/Highly Idiomatic

Examples and resources

et demi/demie (and a half)


J'ai bu une bouteille et demie
I drank a bottle and a half


Marc a quinze ans et demi.
Marc is fifteen and a half.


Il a rempli un cahier et demi.
He filled one notebook and a half.


la moitié de (half of)


Il ne mange qu'une moitié du biscuit.
He only eats one half of the biscuit.


Elle a gardé la moitié des bonbons pour plus tard.
She kept half the sweets for later.


J'ai bu la moitié de la bouteille.    
I drank half the bottle


Tu as mangé la moitié du gâteau.
You ate half the cake.


un/une demi- (a half)


J'ai rempli un demi-seau d'eau.
I filled half a bucket of water.


J'ai bu une demi-bouteille.
I drank half a bottle.


Q&A

stephen

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2018

3 replies

la motié was always translated for ´thé something but my answer was wrong half my salary ´demi’ ?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2018

13/06/18

Hi Stephen,

I am not entirely sure what your question is. But half my salary I would tranlate as "la moitié de mon salaire".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

stephen

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2018

13/06/18

Hi Chris,

Me too, and that is the answer I gave. Not sure why it was marked as incorrect.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

14/06/18

Can you post the full sentence? It might give a clue why one is considered correct over the other.

-- Chris.

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?

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 !

 

 

Dragana

Kwiziq community member

15 February 2018

1 reply

Detail of question does not populate? J'ai bu une demi-bouteille. - Why not une demie- bouteille?

J'ai bu une demi-bouteille. - Why not une demie-

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2018

16/02/18

Hi Dragana,

the rule is this: when "demi" comes before the noun, it is always and invariable "demi". When it succeeds the noun, it changes according to the gender.

Une demi-heure. -- Half an hour.
Une heure et demie. -- One and a half hour.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Dragana

Kwiziq community member

15 February 2018

1 reply

Demi (masc) and Demie (Fem)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2018

16/02/18

I answered this question in your other post. -- Chris.

Nick

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2017

1 reply

Il ne mange qu'une moitié du biscuit. He only eats one half of the biscuit.

Does this not also means 'he eats only one half of the biscuit'? Or if not, how do you differentiate between these two meanings? Thanks

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 July 2017

24/07/17

Bonjour Nick, Let's see if this helps any. Toute la journée, il n'a mangé que la moitié d’un biscuit All day, he ate only one-half of a biscuit compare the above to this phrase: Il n'a mangé que la moitié du biscuit He ate only half of the biscuit In other words, the differentiation comes whether is un biscuit, a biscuit, or du biscuit, remember that «du» is the shortened form of «de le» hence the biscuit. J'espère que cela vous aidera. Bonne chance, Ron

sue

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2017

1 reply

If we have a quantity ,does it work in the the same way. he ate half of the apples.

How would you translate he ate half of the apples. would you need to insert a word such as he ate half the quantity of the apples?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Sue ! Here, because it's a whole composed of only two halves, you will use "la moitié de" as such: "Il a mangé la moitié des pommes." That means there was a specific quantity of apples, and he ate half of this quantity. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

3 October 2016

1 reply

Tatiana asked: "Should not [La moitié de baguette] work as well as [Une demi-baguette]?

___ baguette, s'il-vous-plaît ! (Half a baguette, please !)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

3 October 2016

3/10/16

Bonjour Tatiana !

Here there's a nuance of meaning between une demi-baguette and la moitié de [la] baguette.

Une demi-baguette means "one half of baguette" or "half a baguette": here it's a general characteristic of the object, as opposed to a full baguette.

La moitié de [la] baguette means "the half of baguette" or "half the baguette", implying that we're talking about a specific baguette here, of which you'd want half.

The sentence here could be heard in a boulangerie, where you would ask for half a baguette, hence une demi-baguette.

I hope that's helpful!

À bientôt !

Diana

Kwiziq community member

8 September 2016

1 reply

Can you use demi(e) and moitié interchangeably

j'ai mangé la moitié du chocolat j'ai mangé un demi-chocolat

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 September 2016

9/09/16

Bonjour Diana !

In most cases meaning "half", "demi(e)" and "une/la moitié de" are equivalent.
Une demie-baguette / la moitié d'une baguette

However, "demi(e)" refers more to a characteristic of the object (it's a half-thing) rather than a quantity as such.
So 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" :)

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2016

1 reply

Tu as bu ___ la bouteille

In the explanation for this lesson, it appears to say that "une moitié de" is just as acceptable as "la moitié de", but my answer has been marked as incorrect. I don't understand...

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

17 June 2016

17/06/16

Bonjour Chris !

Une moitié de la bouteille means "one half of the bottle", whereas la moitié de la bouteille means "half the bottle".

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

John

Kwiziq community member

7 April 2016

1 reply

How do you say a "half-bottle" of wine?

In the US we call the 375ml-sized bottle a "half-bottle." Is there an equivalent in French that does not mean "half a bottle" but refers to the size of the bottle?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

7 April 2016

7/04/16

Bonjour John,

Now that's an interesting topic!

Here's what I can say for sure: when you consider a half bottle, as in half full, you will use "une demie bouteille".
Now if you're talking about those smaller bottles you can buy in shops, we don't really have a specific word for them, other than "une petite bouteille de vin" or again "une demie bouteille de vin".
You can refer to "un demi" when you order what is equivalent to half a pint [more for beer though] or about 25cl / a quarter of a litre.

Voilà ! I hope that answers your question! 

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