Use of foot or feet

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Use of foot or feet

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Jan 28, 1999 12:00 am

When describing the length of a scrap on a wall, should it be "the scrape on the wall was 2 foot long by 3 inches wide" or should it be "....2 feet by 3 inches..." ? thank you.
Submitted by Gerry Morgan (St. louis, mo - U.S.A.)
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Use of foot or feet

Post by Jonathon Green » Tue Feb 02, 1999 8:00 am

I offer the words of the Bloomsbury Goood Word Guide:

foot or feet?
The plural of foot, as a unit of measurement, may be foot or feet: a six-foot fence; five feet tall; nine feet eight inches long; a pane of glass measuring two foot six by four foot three.

In compound adjectives that precede the noun, the singular form foot is always used: a three-foot rod. The same convention applies not only to other units of measurement but also to such expressions as a two-car family, four-star petrol, a five-year-old child, etc., and to compound nouns such as trouser leg, toothbrush, etc.

For measurements in feet and inches, feet is preferred in more formal and precise contexts: seven feet four inches. In informal usage the word inches is omitted and the plural form foot is more frequent: seven foot four.

In such expressions as three feet high or ten foot wide, the same distinctions of formality and precision may be applied: The wall must be exactly three feet high. The room is about ten foot wide. For larger measurements, such as the height of a mountain, feet is preferred in all contexts.
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