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)


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.


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


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 Forum 11 questions, 17 answers

Sorry for the typo in the above

Again, One of your examples under the heading - 

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

was  “Il ne mange qu'une moitié du biscuit.”

Can you clarify, then, why response “Tu as bu une moitié de la bouteille.” was marked incorrect and the suggested correct response was “la moitié de” ? 

Asked 6 months ago

I am afraid there is no grammatical explanation for this, it is stylistic. The French just tend to say "la moitié" more often than "une moitié".

According to the lesson, "la moitié de" means "half the [something]", and "une moitié de" means "one half of [something]". I'm not sure if this is also true in French, but in English I think you can only say "one half" if it is possible to separate the thing into two halves. A biscuit, a cake or an apple, say, can be cut or split into two, and you can eat one half and leave the other. But you can't do that with a bottle. You can eat one half of the biscuit (a KitKat for example), but you can't drink one half of the bottle.

Sorry for the typo in the above

Again, One of your examples under the heading - 

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

was  “Il ne mange qu'une moitié du biscuit.”

Can you clarify, then, why response “Tu as bu une moitié de la bouteille.” was marked incorrect and the suggested correct response was “la moitié de” ? 

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

Asked 1 year ago

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).

Hi Chris,

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

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

-- Chris.

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

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

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

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 !

 

 

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).

Darn, again the typos....:

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

-- Chris.

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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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-
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

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).

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-

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Demi (masc) and Demie (Fem)

Asked 1 year ago
I answered this question in your other post. -- Chris.

Demi (masc) and Demie (Fem)

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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
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
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

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

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SueC1

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?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
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 !

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?

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AurélieKwiziq language super star

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

___ baguette, s'il-vous-plaît ! (Half a baguette, please !)
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

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 !

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

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

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Can you use demi(e) and moitié interchangeably

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

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
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 !

Can you use demi(e) and moitié interchangeably

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

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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...
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

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 !

What’s the difference? I don’t see it.

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...

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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?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

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! 

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?

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