I really wanted to know the following sets of words are different in meaning.

**girls who are tall / tall girls

**girls who are beautiful/ beautiful girls


girls who are tall / tall girls

Both refer to the same thing, which is "more than one girl with the atttribute of 'tall'"

Generally "tall girls" makes "tall" and "girls" of equal importance, whereas "girls who are tall" makes "girls" more important than "tall."

"Girls who are tall" might be slightly more used instead of "tall girls" when:

  • you are leading up to a description: "Girls who are tall and athletic may do well in basketball."

  • you just thought about tallness in midsentence and had to tack it on real quick as you were speaking

  • English expresses politeness by being indirect and wordy. If you need to be polite about tallness for some reason, this would sound more polite.

  • if you are talking to someone who isn't really listening closely, expressing things with more words gives the listener additional chances to listen. This strategy is also adopted in intstructive or educational contexts to ensure information is transmitted more reliably.

  • "girls who are tall" makes "girls" more important than "tall." <-- Are you sure about this order? I thought it is the other way around, generally. Your second example (absentmindedness) would be a non-regular exception. Your first example (basketball) puts the emphasis on being tall, it is irrelevant that the tall people are girls (opposed to boys).
    – mafu
    Nov 8 '16 at 2:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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