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Assuming I saw a group of people, for instance 10 people and accidentally there was a sharp wire that split their bodies horizontally and each person is split in two separate parts. So there would be 20 parts now since there were 10 people.

From the example above, if I wish to report the event, which sentence is correct between these:

  1. They were split into half.
  2. They were split into halves.
  3. They were split in two separate parts.

This is my view: since the object is plural (10 people) although it's a group of people, in my opinion as an ESL learner, I'm confused between considering them as a group as in one quantity i.e. a group of people or ten distinct objects, let's say they are all passengers in a ship.

Furthermore, the third point above, in my way of thinking is more like there were 10 people and the group was divided into two separate parts or two new groups i.e. each group there are 5 people. And this, to me, doesn't tell the reader that their bodies were gone wrong.

In case you are asking why that example?, I'm intending to make a review of a horror movie "Ghost Ship" and I'm stuck at the part telling about the scene when the passengers are killed by the wire. I hope that makes sense. Please also give another suggestion if none of those sounds grammatical.

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    This has been asked before on ELU - "Cut into halves" vs. "cut in half" and "Please, cut the apple in halves." or "Please, cut it in half."? Short answer: all combinations of the prepositions in / into and singular / plural half / halves are "valid", but cut something in half is by far the most common form. Jul 30, 2022 at 12:18
  • They were split in two. They could only be halves if split from top to bottom, which would be unlikely if ten people are split by the same wire. Jul 30, 2022 at 13:12
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    In Britain, if not elswhere, if someone's body is divided, e.g. in a accident, bomb attack, murder by axe, run over by train, etc, we would commonly say they were 'cut in two'. Jul 30, 2022 at 16:04

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Many people in the comments have given great suggestions:

  • they were (all) cut in two
  • they were (all) split in two
  • they were (all) split in half
  • they were (all) cut in half
  • they were split into two halves

Using "all" helps remove ambiguities regarding the group being split into two, so it's better to use that.

@FumbleFingers

all combinations of the prepositions in / into and singular / plural half / halves are "valid", but cut something in half is by far the most common form.

Cut into halves vs cut in half

Please cut the apple in halves or please cut in half

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