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Would you please tell me if I need to use an or the in before average in the context below?

176cm is an/the average height for men in the US.

I've heard both. Are both acceptable? If so, can you tell me what is the slight difference between them.

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  • What do you think the answer is? Why do you think that? Why are you unsure?
    – randomhead
    Apr 16, 2022 at 18:39
  • I'm unsure because I've heard both. Apr 16, 2022 at 19:23

2 Answers 2

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You would say "176cm is the average height for men in the US."

The general pattern would be

"[Measurement] is the average height for [group A]"

You would use "an average height" in other contexts; for example, after the verb have:

"[Group A] have an average height of [measurement]"

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When you use 'a' rather than 'the', it seems that you want to say one of the multiple choices.

An average height of men (one of the average height of men), but one of what?

On the other hand when you say: The average height of men, you mean there is only one average and you mention the value.

I also think you have to re-order the statement as follows:

The average height of men in the US is 176 cm.

Therefore, if you don't want to change the order, it would be like this:

176 cm is the average height of men in the US.

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