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A. 3 meter square area

B. 3 square meter area

I’m wondering what the easiest way is to clearly express the difference between A and B above.

In A, one side is 3 (meters). In B, one side is the square root of 3 (meters).

Also, can both A and B be expressed with all the modifiers on the left, such as with hyphens? Or would word order such as the following be required for A?

area of 3 meters squared

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5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

A. 3-meter-square area & B. 3-square-meter area is what you are after; the hyphens bind together all the elements they connect into a single adjectival unit of meaning.

Area of 3 meters squared would not take the hyphens, because that expression is constructed in such a manner that its elements are not bound together in the same way.

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A. 3 meter long square

B. 3 square meter area (fine as it is)

This would clearly differentiate between the two.

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Thanks. However, what if left-side modifiers are used? The writer I'm checking for tells me he prefers left-side modifiers for the term so that further left-side modifiers, or relative clauses unambiguously modifying “square”, can be added later. –  curious-proofreader May 13 at 4:03

Try a square three meters to a side or a three meter by three meter square.

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My impression is that the first definition may create confusion.

  • A - should be, a 3 meters squared area or a 3 meter by 3 meter square area ( that is a 9 squared meters area) to avoid misunderstanding.

But, I think, example B is the best way to express the concept. square meter vs meter square

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A. 3 Meter square.

B. square root of 3 is also considered 3 meter square.

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