I randomly found these four sentences from the internet:

  1. "light travels at higher speed as compared to shadow”

  2. "which light has a higher speed, red or blue light?“

  3. “What makes a mechanical clock slowdown as it travels at higher speed?”

  4. “Is it possible to travel this universe with a higher speed than light?”

I don't know when I should use an article "a" before "higher speed". It seems to me that sometimes you use "a" and sometimes you don't. Are these four sentences all grammatically correct? Can someone explain to me when you would use "a" before higher speed?

  • 1
    I would use a for all of these. Jun 29, 2018 at 12:51
  • 1
    I'd really have to think whether (1) is acceptable / I'd use 'the' with (2) / I'd use 'What makes a mechanical clock's mechanism slow down as it travels at increasingly higher speeds?' / and I'd use 'Is it possible to travel in this universe with a speed higher than that of light?' Jun 29, 2018 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


These all contain errors.

The first says "as compared to", which is never correct. "When compared to" is sometimes OK ("She appears quite pale when compared to her brother") but not in your context: "Higher" is a comparative (the "er" at the end generally reveals that fact) and so "compared to" is at best redundant. Say "a higher speed than shadow" or, better, "faster than shadow".

The second is as bad. Nothing "has" a speed. Say "travels at". And "greater" is better than "higher". Combined, those two corrections would produce "travels at a greater speed". But why not just write "travels faster"?

The third has "slow down" combined to form "showdown" - a noun ("there was a slowdown at work today") which is not what you need here. And please say "greater" and not "higher". But as with its predecessor, why not just say "as it travels faster" ("as its speed increases" would be technically correct, since theoretically "faster" gives rise to the question "faster than what?", but most people would understand "as it travels faster").

The fourth includes "with a higher speed than light". Light is not a speed. It is something that has a speed or travels at a speed but it is not itself a speed, or a number, so "higher speed than light" is meaningless. You should say "faster than light" ("at a speed greater than the speed of light" would be exact and would probably be preferred by people with a background in science but the average person would understand "faster than light").

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.