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Published on: Grammar Bites

Are ‘medio’ and ‘mitad’ the same?

If you look up ‘medio’ and ‘mitad’ in the dictionary you might think these are perfect synonyms because they have the same English equivalent; however, they have some differences in use.

Mitad is a female noun that we use to talk about 50% of something. We use ‘mitad’ to refer to two equal parts of a whole and it’s typically followed by the prepostion ‘de’. ‘Mitad’ can also be used an adverb.

  • Comimos la mitad de la torta y guardamos la otra mitad para mañana. We ate half the cake and we saved the other half for tomorrow.
  • ¿Qué has hecho? ¡Tienes la mitad de la cara cubierta de barro! What have you done? Half your face is covered in mud!
  • Los centauros son criaturas mitológicas mitad hombre y mitad caballo. Centaurs are mythological creatures half man, half horse.

 

On the other hand, ‘medio’ is an adjective so it always has to agree with the noun it’s modifying (medio/media). We use ‘medio’ to refer to a half quantity of something, but it can also be used to talk about distance, time, length, etc.

  • Quiero medio kilo de naranjas, por favor. I would like half a kilogram of oranges, please.
  • Estamos a medio camino entre las montañas y la playa. We’re half way between the mountains and the beach.
  • Vimos media película y nos quedamos dormidos. We watched half the movie and we fell asleep.
  • Hablaron por media hora en el teléfono. They spoke for half an hour on the phone.
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