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I wonder if the following sentences make any sense. I am trying to ask people at what height they consider to be above average or below average, when they consider only people of their own gender.

The questions are as follow:

For your own gender, an average person has the height of around ______ cm.

For your own gender, an above average person has ______ cm or more in height.

For your own gender, a below average person has ______ cm or less in height.

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    Naturally, if an average person is X cm tall, then anyone taller than that (even by a centimetre) is "above average" and anyone shorter is "below average", no? – Maciej Stachowski Dec 23 '20 at 8:42
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The difficulty that I would have in reading these is that they start out as if being spoken to the person filling out the questionnaire: "your gender" — but finish as being spoken by the person filling it out.

This is really more of a User Experience or Writing stack exchange question, rather than about English. However, It is probably better to phrase questions as questions. The part about "your gender" is also confusing. You can ask two questions about men and women since those are easier to understand. The questions about "above average" are redundant. Since "above average" is not a single value but a range of values, (everything greater than the average) So while I could make an estimate of average height, I couldn't give a value to above-average height. My answers to your three questions would all be the same.

Based on your own experience, what is the average height of an adult man?

_____________cm

Based on your own experience, what is the average height of an adult woman?

_____________cm

You could then ask about the typical height for a "tall man" etc.

I might note that many native speaker will have no idea about heights measured in centimetres. In the UK we happily use cm for measurements of lines on paper, but normally use feet and inches for heights. In America, cm are hardly used at all.

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  • That is very helpful. Thank you very much! – Chet Dec 23 '20 at 18:12
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If these were a statement, a native speaker is more likely to say:

An average person of your gender has the height of around ______ cm.

However, as you are writing these as 'fill in the blank' questions, your structure works better as it puts the important condition first. You want the reader to limit their thinking to their gender before they begin.

For your gender, an average person has the height of around ______ cm.

You will notice I have removed the word "own". It isn't necessary, unless you have previously been talking about someone else's gender and want to highlight the difference.

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  • I would consider "The height of an average person is..." or "an average person is ___ cm. tall" to be more idiomatic. – Kate Bunting Dec 23 '20 at 9:13
  • Thanks for the help from both of you. Then does it make sense to say the following: For your gender, the height of an above average person is ______ or more. For your gender, the height of a below average person is ______ or less. – Chet Dec 23 '20 at 9:25
  • @KateBunting I'd agree if it was a statement of fact, but I'm allowing for the possibility they OP is prepared for a range of answers, hence 'around'. It is slightly better than saying "rough average" or "approximate average", which suggests the average has been badly worked out. – Astralbee Dec 23 '20 at 9:33
  • @Chet No I don't like those, because you've moved the word 'average' away from 'height'. You mean that they are average in height, but now it sounds like you mean the height of a person who is average for some other reason – Astralbee Dec 23 '20 at 9:34
  • @Astralbee That makes sense. – Chet Dec 23 '20 at 18:20

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