Two buildings of different height


Two buildings of different heights

Thanks for your help.


Both are fine, but they have slightly different connotations. This is due to different usages of the word height, and may not be central to your question.

In you second example, each building has its own height. Height is an attribute, and as such can be counted in the same manner as the attribute's owner.

In the first sentence, height is being used as a concept, not an attribute. The buildings are being compared on the basis of height.

There are a lot of sensible attributes than can also function as concepts. So you really have to decide how you want the reader to handle the idea.

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  • This looks philosophy-of-English related, positing an analysis of the count / non-count choice in such cases. As this choice is often available, it would be very useful to have links to research on the issue. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 11 '18 at 23:33
  • 'I asked them their age' and 'I asked them their ages' look exactly synonymous, with attributes requested in each case. Dorgeloh and Wanner investigate the 'addressing the individual within a group' usage. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 12 '18 at 0:56

You could also say 'two buildings of different heidths' meaning, two buildings of differing height measurements.

This means 'two buildings of differing heights'.

Heidth specifically refers to the vertical length of something.

'Heidth' (pron. like height with an extra 'th' on the end) is the describing word used to express the abstract of a 'height' as a thing.


Similar to width.

Heidth is commonly used in English, in London, where I am from (I am English) to describe how high or tall something is vertically.

'What is the heidth of that wall?' 'It is 3 metres high' or, 'the wall's heidth is 3 metres'.

There are many arguments online about 'whether heighth is correct' but this is with the spelling 'heighth' (which is how the words sounds). I believe its historical spelling is 'heidth' - with a 'd' - and if you google that word, you'll see no arguments about it.

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  • Apart from introducing a non-standard / obsolescent variant, this does not answer the question. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 12 '18 at 0:50
  • It's not obsolete, it is in common use. It depends on the context of what is being said - are the buildings the topic of interest, or the heidth itself. – Jelila Jan 12 '18 at 0:54
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    Can you find a dictionary with an editorial board, or a respectable source (of within the last 50 years), giving 'heidth' instead of 'height'? / Note the two variants OP actually asks about in their question: 'heights' or 'height'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 12 '18 at 0:59
  • Depending on what they want to say - to my ears if they say 'two buildings of differing heighths' it sounds more natural and correct than height or heights. If you scroll down on this page you'll see that in recent years 320 people have looked it up. wordnik.com/words/heidth – Jelila Jan 12 '18 at 1:16
  • The example they have to resort to is 'If the man is there, or ia heidth, it is 'certain you have done all that can be hy writing) and no doubt tlie Bbhop of Gloucester, who proniiaed toDr.'. Wordnik and UD are not often well received on ELU. Perhaps you can see why. Other, respected, online dictionaries (Collins, M-W, Oxford Dictionaries Online ...) fail to list 'heidth', which argues quite strongly that it is non-standard. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 12 '18 at 15:47

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