We can describe numbers smaller than one by using decimals or fractions. Today, most systems use decimals, but it is still useful to know how to read and say simple fractions in English.
Look at these examples of fractions:
|We write:||We say:|
|½||a half OR one half|
|¼||a quarter OR one quarter|
|⅓||a third OR one third|
|⅕||a fifth OR one fifth|
|⅛||an eighth OR one eighth|
|1½||one and a half|
|5¾||five and three quarters|
Although the system of fractions is not used much these days, we commonly use a few simple fractions in everyday speech, for example:
- They phoned half an hour ago.
- Hurry up! The bus leaves in a quarter of an hour.
- The police station is about three quarters of a mile past the traffic lights.
Note that after “one and a half”, the noun is plural:
- Go straight on for one and a half kilometres. (OR …one kilometre and a half)
- We had to wait for one and a half hours. (OR …an hour and a half)