‘Half’ and ‘halve’

Half and halve are not homophones, but they sound similar and their meanings are closely related.

PearsHalf:

  • either of two equal or corresponding parts that together make up a whole
  • the fraction equal to one divided by two

“I cut the pear in half”

Halve:

  • to divide something into two equal, or nearly equal, parts
  • to reduce by half

“I halved the pear”

My tip is to try to remember that halve is a verb. This advice is slightly complicated by the plural form of half – “I cut the pears into halves” – but the context should help you determine which is appropriate.

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