What is the right way to pronounce 4.5 meters?

Is it

Four point five meters.


Four meters point five.


I'm not sure why you're even asking this question, but it's possible that you've seen other measurements written like "6 foot four inches" and think that you can apply the same style to "4.5 metres".

(Note - if you're talking about the unit of measurement, it's "metres", not "meters": a "meter" is a measuring device, eg "speedometer", "thermometer" etc.)

The only time you would split a measurement into different numbers is if there are sub units, such as "feet and inches", "degrees, minutes, and seconds", "dollars and cents" etc.

So, feet and inches are two units, with inches being a "sub unit" of feet. You say "6 foot, four inches".

With meters, there is only one unit, and 4.5 is the size of that unit, so you'd say "4.5 metres". You could alternatively say "4 metres and 50 centimetres", following the "subunit" rule, although this seems unnecessary when you could just use the single metre unit.

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    "Meter" is AmE and "metre" is for everyone else for the unit of measurement, and "meter" is for everyone for the device. – MorganFR May 26 '16 at 13:50
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    You could also say "four metres fifty" or just "four fifty" if the context is known (i.e. it's understood you're talking about a length in the order of metres), e.g. I'm one seventy-eight in height. – Prof Yaffle May 26 '16 at 14:07
  • @ProfYaffle: Thank you. I was wondering the other day how height was expressed metrically in English; I live in the US. It's about what I'd expect. Does one usually add "in height" or "in weight", or are the numbers sufficiently different to make it clear? – John Lawler May 26 '16 at 14:09
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    @JohnLawler I think it depends on context - many Brits would say they're five-ten or measure their weight in stone, after all. You wouldn't walk up to someone and say "Hey, I'm five-ten!" and expect anything other than an odd look, though, and "I'm one seventy-eight" would get the same response; however, once established that it's about height, the number would stand alone. Weight would usually still get a unit: "I'm one seventy-eight and eighty kilos" - just as I think US folks would say "I'm five ten and a hundred seventy-six pounds". "I'm one metre seventy-eight" wouldn't be wrong, however. – Prof Yaffle May 26 '16 at 14:18
  • I'm one eighty-eight and eighty-six, then, and I suspect the difference will be obvious. If I did it in inches and pounds, it would also be obvious. – John Lawler May 26 '16 at 14:35

As afore mentioned, it is four point 5 meters. Do not confuse this with the annotations for feet which would be, for example, 6'11" - Six foot eleven inches. The annotation for a value such as yours will be said in order. 4.5 m - Four point five meters.

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