I know to ask,

Please, fill half a glass of water/tea.

Well, the context for the above sentence is understandable. But, what if I need to ask the same, where


  1. The tea/water is more than half but not full.

  2. It is less than half but neither empty nor very little.

Do we have any words/sentences to express for these two cases? I guess we can't say:

Please fill 25% or 37% of tea OR 75% of water

  • 1
    Not sure how filling 37% percent of water in a glass is possible...
    – Justin
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 9:13
  • 1
    Filling half or a third/fourth/three-fourths of a glass with water is more standard.
    – Justin
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 9:15
  • 'Give me a drop' would be colloquially understood in UK English as just a small amount of liquid in a glass - if it was water or a soft drink. Unfortunately 'Give me a drop' when applied to alcoholic drinks might mean the same, or might mean 'fill my glass'!
    – Andy M
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 9:45
  • "Give me some water." Or you could say "Just fill it a quarter of the way up" or something. You could say "Give me 375 ml" or "fill it 67% full", that's certainly grammatical. People might wonder why you were being so precise (unless you were making a recipe or were a chemist or something), but that's outside the scope of English Language and Usage.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 9:46
  • 1
    @Justin - weigh the glass full and empty, do some simple arithmetic, pour until the desired weight is reached. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


Simply use any word for a small amount, and make it relative to the half-full mark. For example, you could ask for the glass to be filled

  1. just shy of half full
  2. a tad more than half full
  • Is the word full needed at all? Can I just say "a tad more than half"?
    – esa
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 17:19
  • 1
    Certainly, I think that by Grice's principles most people would presume half full if you only say half, but you could imagine a context where it would be ambiguous. “Glass A is half empty and glass B is a tad more”: is B a tad more than half full, or a tad less than full because it is a tad more empty?
    – djs
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 3:21

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