How Far Up Above The Earth's Surface Do You Need To Go Before The Gravitational Acceleration Is 1/5 Of What You Feel On The Earth's?

The group of words that make up the question "How far up above the earth's surface...." has drawn my attention. Since "up" and "above" has the same meaning and both work well in this question, I didn't see a need to use them together. However, since I am a non-native speaker, I still want to make sure if I am right in my thinking that it is nothing but overuse of the similar words.

Why "how far up above...." whereas simply the following seem to have same meaning:

- How far up the earth's surface .......?

- How far above the earth's surface .......?

Aren't they really the same in meaning?


1 Answer 1



How far up the... can only be used of something you climb (like a mountain or a tree) or go along or through (like a street or a pipe).

Strictly speaking, it would be enough to say How far above the Earth's surface?, but expressions such as up above, down below are commonly used to add emphasis.

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