This kind of measurement doesn't appear by googling, let's say you are a diabetic and ice cream can also be a high source of sugar, which is bad to your health. Moreover, you insist and say:

Oh, I'll just have half a spoonful.
(excerpted from a book ''The 4 hour workweek'')

Are the bold letters correct as for a unit of measurement?

  • 2
    Why not? If you can have a quantity, whatever it is called, why couldn't you have half of it?
    – Robusto
    Apr 26, 2018 at 13:40
  • 1
    @Robusto - I'm guessing this is a question about "half a spoonful" vs. "a half spoonful," but, if I'm right about that, the OP should really clarify.
    – J.R.
    Apr 26, 2018 at 13:47
  • I'm guessing the question is about the contrast between "half" and "full". Compare this to "five o'clock" and "five thirty" (not *"five thirty o'clock"). Apr 26, 2018 at 14:22
  • @laugh, sry but it's not, there are no ''contrasting conjunctions'' written in the highlighted question.
    – John Arvin
    Apr 27, 2018 at 1:04

1 Answer 1


Talking causually - yes, it's fine.

As you can have a spoonful, it is also possible to have half a spoonful, or a half spoonful.

However, it is important to note that these are very imprecise measurements, and many people will not take you literally when you say that. Instead, it will generally imply that you can only eat a very small amount of the ice-cream.

This is similar to when somebody says they'll have "just a french fry", but may actually take two or three.

For more precise measurements such as recipes, the exact type of spoon should be used and sometimes with the modifier "heaped":

Tablespoon, tbsp. e.g. 1/2 tbsp is half a tablespoon

Teaspoon, tsp. e.g. 1/2 tsp is half a teaspoon

Heaped tablespoon. e.g. 1 heaped tbsp, which is a tablespoon holding so much there is a little heap on top (as opposed to it being measured flat, up to the rim).

As pointed out in comments, Heaped may also be referred to as Heaping or Rounded, depending on the author.

  • 2
    heaped or heaping. Apr 26, 2018 at 15:42
  • 3
    "Scant" is the opposite of "heaping" - it means slightly less than.
    – Catija
    Apr 26, 2018 at 15:52

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