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Difference between By half and By halves

by half

1. increase or reduce smth. by fifty percent of the original amount:

  • This move cuts by half the religious programming on ITV on Sunday.

2. far more than is satisfactory or desirable:

  • Of course, he is a very clever politician. Too clever by half, in my opinion.

by halves—do smth. imperfectly or not completely:

  • Those in charge should not deal by halves with a question in which all classes have so deep an interest.