Six foot tall or six feet tall

This is a discussion thread · 7 replies
Walter E.:
Can you help an ignorant immigrant:

to me: I am six foot tall. Is this proper English or should it be: I am six feet tall. ?Or, are both versions correct? It seems to me I have heard it both ways before.

-- Walter The Happy Iconoclast: www.rationality.net -
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Odysseus:
[nq:1] to me: I am six foot tall. Is this proper English or should it be: I am six feet ... "inches" is actually spoken): one might even say "I am nearly six feet tall, but he's only five foot eight."[/nq]
When a person's weight is given in stones, a somewhat old-fashioned British measure (equivalent to 1/8 cwt. or 14 lbs.), it nearly always appears in the singular, whether or not there are any 'odd' pounds: "I weigh nine stone five (pounds)," and "He weighs twelve stone."

--Odysseus
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Harvey Van Sickle:
snip
[nq:1]When a person's weight is given in stones, a somewhat old-fashioned British measure (equivalent to 1/8 cwt. or 14 lbs.)[/nq]
Measurement of one's weight in stones may be old, but I find the description "somewhat old-fashioned" a bit odd: it's no more "old- fashioned" than, say, measuring distance in inches or miles.

(It certainly shows no sign of dying out in this part of the country: as far as I know, all bathroom scales -- along with those pay-20-pence- to-weigh-yourself machines at train stations, etc. -- measure in kilos and stones, rather than kilos and pounds.)

-- Cheers, Harvey

Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years; Southern England for the past 21 years. (for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Eric Walker:
[nq:1] to me: I am six foot tall. Is this proper English or should it be: I am six feet tall. ?Or, are both versions correct? It seems to me I have heard it both ways before.[/nq]
In idiomatic English, the adjective forms typically use the singular of measures:

. a six-foot-tall man

. a ten-pound weight

. a seven-course meal

and so on.

In actual description, singular and plural follow the normal rules. Hence, one could write (if deaf to stylistic considerations of parallelism):

A man five feet tall has far less occasion to watch his forehead when going through doorways than has a six-foot-tall man.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
John Dean:
[nq:1] to me: I am six foot tall. Is this proper English or should it be: I am six feet tall. ?Or, are both versions correct? It seems to me I have heard it both ways before.[/nq]
' Each one a six-foot bow could bend. ' It is also common to use the expression 'S/he is a six-footer' 'I am six foot tall' would be considered dialect by most, certainly on this side (right) of the pond, but not, usually, incorrect. I use it in phrases like 'He was five foot nothing in his socks' -- John Dean Oxford De-frag to reply
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Odysseus:
[nq:1]Measurement of one's weight in stones may be old, but I find the description "somewhat old-fashioned" a bit odd: it's ... were still in widespread use; I'd thought they'd been largely superseded by pounds even before 'metrication'. Thanks for the correction.[/nq]
In what units do British drivers' licences or other pieces of identification record one's height and weight? Here they've been metric for quite a few years, although it's still very rare to hear someone using anything but feet-&-inches and pounds, either in conversation or from journalists (the latter e.g. describing football players or criminal suspects). Last time I renewed my licence I told the clerk my dimensions in metric, thinking I could save her the trouble of converting -- but I had to repeat myself twice before she realized what I was saying!

--Odysseus
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Harvey Van Sickle:
-snip re: use of "stones" to measure weight:
[nq:2](It certainly shows no sign of dying out in this ... measure in kilos and stones, rather than kilos and pounds.)[/nq]
[nq:1]I wasn't aware that stones were still in widespread use; I'd thought they'd been largely superseded by pounds even before 'metrication'. Thanks for the correction. In what units do British drivers' licences or other pieces of identification record one's height and weight?[/nq]
I'm not sure: I've just checked my passport and driving licence, and neither of them specifies either height or weight. (That surprised me: I expected to see that on the passport, at least, but it just identifies date and place of birth, and sex).

I think medical records now use metric, but can't be certain of that; last time I was asked for my weight in metric, though, I did the usual thing of saying "I've no idea; whatever 10 stone is".
[nq:1]Here they've been metric for quite a few years, although it's still very rare to hear someone using anything but feet-&-inches and pounds, either in conversation or from journalists (the latter e.g. describing football players or criminal suspects).[/nq]
I think the same holds true here: official records use metric, but conversation and press usage remains solidly in the form "ten-and-a- half-stone" or (for odd figures) "ten stone nine" -- that is, I think the word "pounds" is almost always dropped in casual use.

-- Cheers, Harvey

Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years; Southern England for the past 21 years. (for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Robbie:
[nq:1]When a person's weight is given in stones, a somewhat old-fashioned British measure (equivalent to 1/8 cwt. or 14 lbs.), ... singular, whether or not there are any 'odd' pounds: "I weigh nine stone five (pounds)," and "He weighs twelve stone."[/nq]
I would venture to say that (in this context) the plural of "stone" is "stone". No-one, ever, would say "stones" when referring to weight.

Robbie (trying hard to lose a few stone)

-- ALL mail sent to this address is automatically deleted.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Live chat
Registered users can join here