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My sentence is:

Opened in 1982, the Rio Sul Center is a 164 meters high building.

But my teacher said the sentence should be:

Opened in 1982, the Rio Sul Center is 164 meters high building.

(basically, removing the article a). I still think that mine is correct, and hers is wrong.

Which one is correct, and why?

PS: English isn't my first language, that's why I'm asking this basic question.

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    I think probably English isn't your teacher's first language either. She's completely wrong - so far as I'm aware there's no dialectal variant where simply removing the article (The Rio Sul Center is 164 meters high building) results in an acceptable utterance. You'd have to remove the word building as well. This is very basic grammar, but I won't closevote for lack of prior research in case someone can explain why your teacher made such a ridiculous error (so it might be useful if you tell us what her native language is). – FumbleFingers Feb 29 '16 at 18:02
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    In short, your variant with "a" is correct. But I wouldn't tell your teacher that her variant is not correct. – rogermue Feb 29 '16 at 18:10
  • Well, I can't really tell where she's from. I'm using EF English Live, so she may be from any country that have English as the first language. It was a writing exam where the system automatically assigns your text correction to a given teacher. Maybe, she didn't see the building in the end? – Juan Feb 29 '16 at 18:11
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    @Juan: Well, their website says you'll be learning with the support of expert English teachers, so assuming you can still contact that specific teacher, I suggest you give her a chance to reconsider (perhaps you're right, and she simply didn't register the word building). If she still maintains that she's right, ask the company to sack her (perhaps they'll give you some free lessons by way of compensation! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 29 '16 at 18:19
  • The premodification required is a 164-metre-high. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 29 '16 at 19:27
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You get the answer by looking at the core of your sentence, removing all the qualifiers and subordinate clauses:

The Center is a building.

Notice that this would not work at all without the article a.

Now as we add the supporting information back in, we see that we need to keep the article a at each stage:

The Rio Sul Center is a building.

Opened in 1982, the Rio Sul Center is a building.

Opened in 1982, the Rio Sul Center is a 164-meters high building.

However, with that all said, your structuring of this sentence is still somewhat awkward, and difficult for a reader to parse, which is perhaps the root of your teacher's issue. I might suggest one of the following alternatives.

Opened in 1982, the Rio Sul Center is a building that is 164 meters high.

The Rio Sul Center opened in 1982 and is 164 meters high.

  • Thanks, indeed, I think she was confused by the sentence, even thought it's correct. – Juan Feb 29 '16 at 18:13
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    @Juan: There really isn't anything "confusing" about your example from any native speaker's perspective - unless we consider the possibility of the word building not being noticed because it's on a separate line of text. That's how it appears to me on my screen, which could lead to "misparsing" simply because we don't expect anything after the word high (except perhaps a full stop, but you obviously wouldn't be looking for that on the next line, so if doesn't immediately follow high, you might simply assume it's been missed out). – FumbleFingers Feb 29 '16 at 18:24
  • No hyphen in the measure phrase following the copula. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 29 '16 at 19:28
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    Hi, cobaltduck. Opened in 1982, the Rio Sul Center is a 164-meter high building. – user24743 Mar 1 '16 at 2:56

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