Which is the correct one?

  • You must visit the statue, at 400 metres high.
  • You must visit the statue, at 400 metres height.
  • You must visit the statue, at 400 metres of height.

None of the sentences is correct.

The first problem with all of them is that they all imply that the statue is 400 meters tall, but that's impossible. The world's tallest statue is less than 180 meters tall. Here's a Google hit for what was planned to be the world's tallest statue:

"Gujarat plans world's tallest statue » Statue of Unity | Statue of Unity www.statueofunity.com/gujarat-plans-world’s-tallest-statue/‎ NEW DELHI: The Indian state of Gujarat has invited global tenders to help build the world's tallest statue — a 182-metre memorial to an independence hero that ..."

This means that the statue is located at an elevation of 400 meters on a mountainside or a hillside. There are many ways of saying this. It all depends on what you want your sentence to focus on. Here are some examples:

  • You must visit the statue. It's 400 metres above sea level, so you'll have to climb that mountain for about 45 minutes before you reach it.

  • You must visit the statue, but you'll have to climb up the mountain 400 metres before you reach it.

  • You must visit the statue. The view is beautiful because it's 400 metres up, on the south side of that mountain. You can see the whole valley from up there.

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  • What about using the word "elevation" - "You must visit this statue, located at a 400-meter elevation". Does this sound idiomatic? – Ilya Kogan May 25 '13 at 11:02
  • @IlyaK: No, it doesn't sound idiomatic. If there are two or more statues, you can say, eg, "You must visit this statue, the one (located) at 400 meters". – user264 May 25 '13 at 11:29
  • Is it because "elevation" is too formal? – Ilya Kogan May 25 '13 at 11:35
  • @IlyaK: No, it's because it's unnecessary: when you say "(located) at 400 meters", the notion of "elevation" is included. All language has meaning only in context. Part of context is the listener's/reader's background knowledge. In a Nat. Geographic film or a tourist text about the statue, eg, might say "The statue is located at an elevation of 400 M in the foothills of the Himalaya mountains." This assumes no background knowledge, &, yes, it's more formal than telling a friend orally or in writing. I'll give you three links to a famous statue in Brazil in the next comment. – user264 May 25 '13 at 11:58
  • Look at these: First, & second, & third, & fourth. You can see here how native speakers write about elevation. It's not always necessary. – user264 May 25 '13 at 12:06

First of all, the comma is unnecessary in any of the three sentences and should be removed.

You are using 'high' (or 'height') to modify the noun 'metres' and as such, what you need an adjective. 'high' is an adjective but 'height' is a noun.

Knowing this, the first sentence is correct, while the second is not.

I don't think the third is grammatically wrong, but it sure sounds a bit awkward. I would suggest instead turning it around like so:

You must visit the statue at a height of 400 metres.

That's changing as little as possible. However, the sentence as it is (despite the fact that it could be grammatical) is still really odd and if it was a tour guide saying this for instance, I would rather expect something like:

This statue is 400 metres high; it is the highest of our galaxy. As you probably know, it served as a lighthouse during the first century of the Spex age. At the top is the lantern room and to visit it, you must use the lift on your right.

['Spex age' is made up]

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  • 4
    It seems like an odd thing to say, though. Most statues don't move vertically very often, so usually there's no need to specify what height you should visit them at. – snailcar May 24 '13 at 7:36
  • Could someone tell me why my answer got downvoted? Or maybe more specifically, what is the misinformation in my answer? – Jerry May 24 '13 at 15:24
  • 2
    I didn't vote down, but I think perhaps the first sentence is incorrect, even with the comma removed. "You must visit the statue at 400 metres high." sounds a bit odd to me. – snailcar May 24 '13 at 21:33
  • @snailboat - I was addressing the '400 metres high/height' issue and I agree with you that the sentence sounds odd. But I didn't know I also had to look into the content of the rest of the sentence since it might be going off-topic. Added an additional bit to my answer now. – Jerry May 25 '13 at 7:55

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