High or Tall?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "High" and "Tall"?

"High" and "tall" are easy to confuse because they both relate to height.
  • "High" describes the distance above the ground.
    • In soccer, the crossbar is 2.44 m high.
    • The wall is 1 m high. correct tick
  • "Tall" means "above average height" or "with a notably high dimension."
    • Our goalkeeper is 190 cm tall. correct tick
    • The Burj Khalifa is 2722 ft tall. correct tick
"Tall" is used when someone or something (especially someone) is above average height.
high or tall?

More about "High" and "Tall"

Non-native speakers are often unsure whether to use "high" or "tall." They are near synonyms, but they are used in slightly different contexts.

More about "High"

We usually use the adjective "high" for things that are wider than their vertical height (e.g., high mountains, high wall). "High" also refers to elevation from the ground (e.g., high-flying plane).

Example sentences with "high":
  • Mount Everest is 29,035 feet or 8,848 meters high. correct tick
  • Made of stone and bricks from the nearby hills, the Juyong Pass section of the Great Wall of China is 25 feet 7 inches high. correct tick
  • (While the wall is 16 feet 5 inches wide, this could be considered its depth. This section of the wall is actually 31 miles "wide" [long].)
"High" is often used figuratively too:
  • Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there. correct tick (Baseball player Bo Jackson)
  • Don't be scared to fly high because it will inspire others. correct tick (Singer Kerli)

More about "Tall"

Especially when used for people, the adjective "tall" means above average height. We use "tall" for things that are narrower than their vertical height (e.g., people, buildings, or trees). In other words, for things that have a notably high dimension (compared to width and depth).

Example sentences with "tall":
  • You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. correct tick (President Abraham Lincoln)
  • If you want to see really tall trees, go to Washington State. correct tick

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