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Old 03-07-2008, 09:38 PM   #1
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five feet two inches or 5' 2" or...

Hi,

Coming from a nerd background we are typically are very lazy about how we write measurements in application notes. We will write 5 ft. 2 inch. for a measurement. What is correct for fiction Lit, five feet two inches, 5 feet 2 inches or 5' 2" when describing how tall a person is?
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
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I was taught that numbers which can be written in one or two words are spelled out within text. I'd write He was shorter than the other cops, no more than five foot ten. But I would not write She was exactly five foot three and three-quarters.

Of course, each publisher has its own conventions and might change it to meet their norm. As long as their check clears, I'd be good with that.

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Old 03-07-2008, 09:55 PM   #3
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This is quite a coincidence--I was just about post a very similar question about height. I agree that numbers are to be spelled out, but my question is a little different. I don't think Maryn's response exactly answered mine, but instead made me even more unsure:

Would you say "He was five foot ten." or "He was five feet ten."? I've heard it said both ways. I always thought "five foot ten", but when I heard a news announcer identify a crime suspect as "five feet ten", it didn't sound wrong; as a matter of fact, it sounded more reasonable.
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobiwon View Post
Would you say "He was five foot ten." or "He was five feet ten."? I've heard it said both ways. I always thought "five foot ten", but when I heard a news announcer identify a crime suspect as "five feet ten", it didn't sound wrong; as a matter of fact, it sounded more reasonable.
I use "five foot ten" casually, or "five feet ten inches" when writing more formally.
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Old 03-08-2008, 12:28 PM   #5
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I agree with Maryn and if you want to be specific, five feet two inches is your best choice. The singular spelling of foot for a measurement over one foot is an old form more common in non-RP areas of the U.K. and among those in America who follow a more provincial or folksy method of language acquisition (from family generation after generation rather than from school). Usually it is spoken without the inches, as in "five foot two, eyes of blue". By the way, should you could get published outside the U.S., many don't know that ' and " mean feet and inches.

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You see, he stand 'bout six foot four"

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Old 03-08-2008, 12:44 PM   #6
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I'd lean towards less formal when describing human dimensions, "Crazy Johnny was six-two and built like a tank." Or in Brit-speak, "Crazy Johnny was six-two and built like a brick shithouse." Shrug, each to their own.

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Old 03-09-2008, 01:35 PM   #7
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So would it be better to say:

at over 6 foot

or

at over 6 feet?


Quote:
I'd lean towards less formal when describing human dimensions, "Crazy Johnny was six-two and built like a tank."
Which is better:

Uncle Thomas was six foot two, and my dad was only five foot eleven.

Or would it be better to write:

Uncle Thomas was six-two, and my dad was only five-eleven.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:40 PM   #8
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I was gonna say "short" or "tall enough for my feet to touch the ground" but that probably won't help.

It depends on how formal the writing is. I'd lean toward "five foot two" and not worry about it till the editor gets her hands on it.
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