1

Why in this picture

this picture are the length and height of a plane given as x feet long and y feet high but the wingspan is described as a z-foot wingspan? Are they the same units? How can I choose which one to use?

  • Note that it's not "63 feet height". It's "63 feet tall". – M.A.R. Mar 9 '15 at 12:57
  • It's always a six-foot man (which not everyone hyphenates), never a six-feet man. But with the slightly difference construction I'm six feet tall, well over 10% of native speakers (including me) normally say I'm six foot tall (neither of those are ever hyphenated in the written form). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 9 '15 at 15:07
  • 1
    There are two reasons why this is as shown. The first is that the part-of-speech of the length and height are not the same as the wingspan. The other is habit when describing plane dimensions. He could have just adhered to semantic parallelism when noting all of the dimensions. – Gary Mar 10 '15 at 1:29
1

In Standard English, foot and feet have their own rules when they are used in combination with numbers to form expressions for units of measure: a four-foot plank, but not a four feet plank; also correct is a plank four feet long (or, less frequently, four foot long). When foot is combined with numbers greater than one to refer to simple distance, however, only the plural feet is used: a ledge 20 feet (not foot) away. At that speed, a car moves 88 feet (not foot) in a second.

Usage note at entry for foot in The American Heritage dictionary.

| improve this answer | |
  • Just to add that Northern BrE would also often colloquially say '6 foot tall' to describe someone's height, or 6 foot under etc. – gone fishin' again. Mar 9 '15 at 14:05
  • Corpus of Contemporary American English: 3 instances of "six foot under"; 184 of "six feet under". 19 "six foot tall"; 427 "six feet tall". – Jim Reynolds Mar 10 '15 at 5:40

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.