English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I walk into Shoppers Drug Mart the day after Easter and see cheap chocolate galore, should I announce it on my Facebook profile by writing it's "half price chocolate" or "half priced chocolate"? I've honestly written it both ways in the past and this has left me wondering if one form is more correct than the other.

share|improve this question

Price can be a noun (the price of an item) or a verb (to set the price of an item). Moreover, the word priced can be used as an adjective, particularly in combination with other words (e.g., high-priced slacks)

That would suggest that half-priced chocolate is also an acceptable form, where half-priced would be an adjective.

The Ngram favors half price rather strongly: enter image description here

Meanwhile, a straight web search still favors half price over half priced, but shows plenty of results for both: enter image description here

share|improve this answer
I'm pretty sure that Ngram just has a problem with hyphens. – user545424 Apr 13 '12 at 3:31
@user545424: Except that I've included both half price and half priced in the Ngram, and the results are still the same. The key finding of the Ngram is that half priced – with the -ed – is not found within the scope of Google's "Search lots of books" search. – J.R. Apr 13 '12 at 11:01

"half-price" seems to be the correct form. half-price half-priced

share|improve this answer
Additionally you've used hyphens which I didn't think to do in my posting. – John K Apr 12 '12 at 23:38

When you place a dollar value on an item in a store, you price that item. If you half price it, then part of the sales price may not be apparent. It is half priced.

If that chocolate in Shoppers Mart was correctly marked, but marked at a fifty percent discounted price, it would have been half price chocolate.

A sales clerk might be let go for half pricing merchandise!

share|improve this answer
What? What is the answer? – Matt E. Эллен Apr 14 '12 at 9:40

I'm of the opinion that half-price is a noun, while half-priced is an adjective.

I think of the two as being used in these ways:

The chocolate is half-price.

The half-priced chocolate is selling quickly.

share|improve this answer
I'm not buying "half-price" as a noun, and your usage example does not clarify. I might also write "The chocolate is melted," but you would not (I hope) claim that "melted" was used therein as a noun. For that matter, I could very well write "The chocolate is half-priced." Both "half-price" and "half-priced" are used as adjectives in your examples. – PellMel Mar 28 at 20:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.