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So far I know that 大半 = most, most likely while 多数 = most, majority. I've heard people say "我多数会来". And this sort of confused me since I thought 大半 is the word that means most likely instead of 多数. Can you guys explain the differences/usages between the two words? 🙏

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大半 (greater than half/ more than half/ majority half)

Imagine divide something in half. If the two halves are of equal size, both of them would be 一半(equal half), if one half is bigger, it would be the 大半(greater half/ majority half), and the smaller half would be the 小半(lesser half/ minority half)

Imagine divide something in a 95% / 5% ratio, you cannot call the 5% as 'half' anymore. In this case, the 95% would be the 大部份 (greater part/ number/amount) and the 5% would be the 小部份 (lesser part/ number/amount)

多数 (majority)/ 大多数 (great majority; most of)

Imagine divide a number of things into groups, for example: [100 = 60 +40] or [100 = 60 +30 +10]

60 would be the 多数 (majority), 40, 30 and 10 would be the 少数 (minority)

  • When it comes to describe likelihood, we usually say 多数(51-99% chance) or 多半 (51+% chance) e.g. 他多数不會來 (he most likely won't come)/ 他多半不會來 (more than 50% chance he won't come)

  • When it comes to describe number or amount, we can use 大半(greater than half). 大部份 (most of) and 大多数 (majority; most of) e.g. 大半土地, 大半財產, 大半人口, 大部份土地, 大部份財產, 大部份人口; 大多数土地, 大多数財產, 大多数人口

大半, 大部份, 大多数/ 多数 opposite of 少半, 小部份 and 少数

also: 绝大多数 (super majority- 90%+); 极少数 (tiny minority 10%-)

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Difficult question: more than half is most of something, quite literally, in English or Chinese.

'most likely' = 最有可能的 or 极有可能的 not 大半

I think they are the same here:

  1. 这些苹果大半是坏的。
  2. 这些苹果多数是坏的。

but not the same here:

  1. 在亚洲,多数人不喜欢被晒黑。(OK without research, a presumption.)
  2. 在亚洲, 一大半人不喜欢被晒黑。(Invalid without research and numbers, )
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大半 bkrs (excerpts):I [the larger half; for the greater part; more than half] 超过一半的部分 II (1) [mostly; very likely; probably] 很可能 他大半不来了 (2) , 大概 #6978

多数 bkrs:1) majority 2) lg. plural 必要的多数 the requisite majority 简单多数 simple majority 绝大多数 an overwhelming majority 三分之二的多数 a two-thirds majority 特定多数 qualified majority 微弱的多数 a small majority 相对多数 relative majority #2270

words close in meaning are 大半 and 多半 cf. "实用汉语近义词典"大半(副;名)/多半(副;名) [相同] 都是副词兼名词,意思相同,以下情况可以互换:

1。 都是副词,做状语,表示范围,意思是"大多数、大部分"前面可以加"一":(1)公司里的职员(一)大半是35岁以下的年轻人。(多半✓)(2)他家的电器(一)大半是国产的。(多半✓)(3)我们学院的留学生(一)多半来自东南亚。(大半✓)

都是名词,作定语、宾语,表示数量超过一半、大部分;前面可以加"一":(1)(一)多半的孩子喜欢吃麦当劳。(大半✓)(2)他把(一)多半的行李放在了朋友家里。(大半✓)(3)昨天买的东西我已经吃了(一)大半了。(多半✓)

[不同]"多半"还可以作状语,表示对情况的估计、推测,意思是"很可能、在多数情况下",还可以用在表示推测的问句中;"大半"一般不这样用:(1)昨天下雨了,他们多办没有去野餐。(大半✗)(2)我的头疼嗓子疼,多半是感冒了。(大半✗)(3)他看上去精神不大好,多半是没有休息好。(大半✗)(4)我看小张多半不会来了吧?(大半✗)(5)你多半是要去图书馆吧?(大半✗)

Note contradiction with bkrs, iciba seems to confirm bkrs: Most probably she isn't going.她大半不去了。It's so cloudy and cold that it's likely to snow.天气又阴又冷,大半要下雪。

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