Split in Half vs. Split in Two – Difference Explained

What is the difference if “split in two” or “split in half”? That is a question many native and non-native speakers ask themselves. If you are one of them, worry not because you are in the right place. Read on because here are the differences explained with helpful examples.

Split in Half vs. Split in Two

When you “split in half” you reduce the initial piece into two parts making 50% each. On the other hand, when you “split in two” something the remaining parts don’t have to be 50% of the original each. The difference is in the outcome rather than the action.

Split in Half vs. Split in Two

Although the terms above mean obtaining different outcomes of the same action, they are mostly interchangeable in colloquial English. This is because sometimes the outcome doesn’t match the intention. Therefore, you could intend to split something in half and end up splitting it into two.

Plus, in most cases, accurate measurement equipment is needed to decide whether halves are identical or not.

Finally, it is important to point out that “split in two” involves splitting something into two perfect halves but not necessarily.

What Does “Split in Half” Mean?

When you “split in half” a determinate object you obtain two parts that are equal to each other. Thus, you’ve split the original into two parts of 50% each. Although calculation can be complex at times, it is mostly used to talk about approximate measures.

Let’s take a look at how to use “split in half” in a sentence:

  1. Are you sure you can split in half that orange using only your hands? I can go get a knife.
  2. Is it split in half? I can see the right one is slightly bigger than the left one, isn’t it?
  3. He didn’t use the knife; how is the coconut split in half?
  4. Did you split in half the tomatoes already? It’s getting late!
  5. Did she say split in half or in quarters? She’s going to go mad if we do it wrong.
  6. Sometimes when I get a watermelon to split in half, I use the big knife to get a better result.
  7. Yeah, we can split in half the bill if you like, it was quite an expensive meal with the wine and all.

What Does “Split in Two” Mean?

When you say “split in two” you are talking about breaking a unit into two smaller portions. That being said, the pieces you obtain from the main piece after splitting might or not be halves, they might represent any percentage, like 80% and 20%, 40% and 60%, etc.

Let’s see some examples to clarify how to use “split in half” in a sentence:

  1. Do you mean she just split in two the entire chicken with a simple knife?
  2. Yes, just split in two the bread and we’ll have some each.
  3. Don’t worry, I can split in two the board and teach them another topic while the rest take the test.
  4. You can’t swallow that! Split it in two and then eat it.
  5. We split in two everything from the bills to the steak.
  6. Do you imagine what will happen if you split in two that old vase? Just put it down at once!
  7. Mary and Bob are so in love that they split in two all they buy; well, except for headphones.

Which Is Used The Most?

According to the Google Ngram Viewer, the most used term is “split in two” by a considerable margin.

Split in Half vs. Split in Two english usage

Indeed, the difference in the early 20th century was considerable (“split in two” was used twice as much), but it got bigger with time. This means that the use of “split in two” has almost triplicated while the use of “split in half” is nearly duplicated.

This can be explained by the need for precise equipment to talk about exactly 50% unless it is something easy to count like splitting a bill equally after a meal. On the other hand, if you say split in two, you are including that those might be halves, but they don’t necessarily have to be equal.

Final Thoughts

“Split in half” and “split in two” are often used as synonyms. Thus, the difference between them isn’t so notorious in colloquial English. Nevertheless, to “split in two” includes “split in half”, because the resulting pieces can be equal but do not necessarily need to be to fit the definition.

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