Ability Modifiers

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The description on Page 30 of the PHB says that your Total Ability Modifier is 1/2 your level + the base modifier. However, the description on Page 17 mentions nothing of this.

This doesn't make sense to me. The Fort, Ref, and Will defenses already include the 1/2 level, so is this rule just trying to be helpful, or is your actual modifier now going to be 1/2 level + whatever is determined from your stats?
the ability mods are as written.

the 1/2 level thing comes into play when you need to make a strength check or the like.