Suppose the context is measuring a size of a piece of rock:

  1. The rock measures 10 cm along the greatest dimension.
  2. The rock measures 10 cm in the greatest dimension.

Should it be "along" or "in"?

  • 3
    I’d say either is acceptable, but I’d use [in/along] its greatest dimension. – Jim May 18 '15 at 0:26
  • 1
    "along" might imply "along an edge", but the object might be pointed (i.e. not close to rectangular), so the greatest dimension is a distance through the object, rather than along an edge. So I would favor "in its greatest dimension". But I wouldn't say "along" is wrong—it's just that one has to think of measuring "along" an invisible line passing through the object. – Brian Hitchcock May 18 '15 at 9:04
  • Also consider "the rock measures 10 cm along its major axis" – Adam Jul 14 '18 at 5:15

I'd say that "along" sounds better to me although "in" might also be possible. I wouldn't say that the change from "the" to "its" isn't absolutely necessary but it does improve it.


In my humble opinion the two choices I'd use would be "along" and "across" if speaking about an axis or a dimension.

  • The tree measures 8 meters along/across its height.

Otherwise, I'd prefer:

  • The height of the tree measures 8 meters.

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.