The Word on the Street Is . . . One and a Half

Word on the StreetIf one and a half makes you say “one and a half what?” then you’ve probably never lived in Quebec. Here, the expression is common parlance for a studio or bachelor apartment, as in “I just rented a sweet one and a half in Mile End.”

Following the French system, Quebecers count the number of rooms in their apartments. So what most Canadians call a two-bedroom apartment, French-speaking Montrealers call a quatre et demi, (usually expressed in numerical form as 4½). What you get are two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and a half, otherwise known as a bathroom. As you have probably already figured out, the four and a half is simply a literal translation.

Be warned, though. The term half does not apply to every context. Don’t say “Excuse me, where might I find the half?” when you mean “Where’s the powder room?”

What do you call a one-room apartment?

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