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Antonath
November 17th, 2011, 09:12
A JTE came to me with a query I can't answer. Grammar nerds, assemble!

You can decribe something as being "half as large as" something else, so why does saying "a quarter as large as" feel strange? I'd say "a quarter the size of", which is what the JTE's book says, but we're both wondering why.

word
November 17th, 2011, 20:46
I think it's grammatically correct, but just not common. "Half as large as" doesn't sound all that weird, right? "Twenty-five percent as large as" doesn't really sound that bad, either. Must just be something about the word "quarter."

Antonath
November 18th, 2011, 09:52
That's the conclusion I came to. For some reason, it works better if you add "not even".

"My house is not even a quarter as large as theirs."

Tyr
November 18th, 2011, 09:58
IMO its because when you say half as big (large sounds strange to me! But ok) you're not meaning it literally. Just saying...yeah, its a hell of a lot smaller. i.e. a fighter is half as big as his opponent. Though he's not, he is just a few pounds lighter and half a foot smaller.
Quarter as large meanwhile is quite precise and so rarely said.