I know that in context of time, if for example it is: 1:45 then I should say: "It is a quarter to two". But my question is about "half" in such context, for example, in case of 1:30. Should I say "It is a half past one."? I'm asking it because I didn't notice that people use this article in context of time.

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    I'm sorry but I really don't understand how it is duplicate while I'm asking about "half" and that question is about "quarter", the question by itself asks about the differences between them and therefore it cannot be a duplicate. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 12:57
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    Idiomatically, we're far less likely to include the article in at a half past six (that's just 6 hits in Google Books, compared to many thousands without the article). But syntactically it's the same issue. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 13:19
  • english.stackexchange.com/questions/32678/… leaves out both the article and the "past" in "half seven"
    – Dave X
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


As user2684291 points out in his comment, you shouldn't put any article there because it is a common expression of time. Same for the quarter, where the indefinite article is optional.

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    Yes for quarters it's optional, many people do say "it is quarter past one" it is also common to hear (at least in the UK) "it is a quarter past one".
    – djna
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 11:54
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    It's worth noting while on the time that English speakers frequently use phrases such as half two, meaning half-past two, where-as in some Germanic languages the same expression means half-past one. english.stackexchange.com/questions/32678/… Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 12:49
  • @RonaldSole See here ell.stackexchange.com/a/161931/12430 and here (in the bottom of the page: dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/numbers/time Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 13:01
  • @Lucian Thank you for the answer, but it is not clear to me in your answer if it is a matter of choice to add an article to half and quarter, or maybe it is optional for "quarter" only rather than for half. If it's optional for half as well, then it is not clear why you wrote "you shouldn't put any article there" while it is better to say it is a matter of choice. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 13:05
  • @Archimedean_Point, optional with quarter, never with half (in expressions of time). I hope I cleared your issue. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 13:21

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