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The original text I read "More than half of what he said sounded like a foreign lanugage."

I can't help but think that the sentence without 'of' is possible, too;

"More than half what he said sounded like a foreign lanugage."

Is there any difference? Or Is the first one is the only right one?

I'd appreciate your help.

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    I believe this question is off topic here. It is well suited to English Language Learners, if a Mod would be so kind as to migrate it.
    – gotube
    May 3, 2023 at 3:59
  • Why do you think that "of" can be omitted? Saying "I can't help but think" isn't really a reason. Please explain. (You should also cite the source of the quoted text. I know that this question was migrated, but these things are expected on ELL.) May 26, 2023 at 2:51
  • You need the "of" here in standard English. It might be acceptable to drop it in some regional dialects or in informal speech - it would still be understood.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 26, 2023 at 9:25
  • “What do you want on the pizza?” “Half mushroom …” “And half what?” Mar 13 at 0:03

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It's not a strict rule, but we tend to refer to quantities without the 'of'. For example, "I drank half a pint of milk" describes the quantity of milk you drank. "Half a pint" is an accepted measure. You could say "I drank half of a pint of milk", but it sounds like you attempted to drink a pint and only managed half of it.

Closer to your example - imagine you are at lunch with a friend, and his meal arrives. If you said "I want half what he has", that could mean you want the same meal, but a portion only half the size. If you said "I want half of what he has", that sounds like you want to eat half of his meal.

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