Welcome, Maugelit.Originally Posted by maugelit
tall expresses height, and it's used to compare the height of an object or living thing with the height of other objects or living things:
That building is tall. (in comparing that building to other buildings)
Max is tall. (in comparing Max to other people)
high expresses elevation, and it's used to describe objects or living things having a fixed reference that have been raised or lifted upwards:
That building is high. (That building is raised up from the ground)
Max is high. (Max's mood is elevated; Max is high on chocolate)
Walls are raised up, or high, and mountains, being a natural part of the landscape are elevated, or high, so if a structure, say, a building, is considered to have a fixed reference, then its elevation is expressed as 'high', but if fixed reference is not being considered, then its height is expressed as tall. A tower or a building, for example, could be viewed as either a fixed structure, e.g., a high tower; a high building, or a non-fixed structure, e.g., a tall tower; a tall building. It all depends on perception, or how we view the world around us.
In short, the gerenal rule of thumb is: If fixed, then high, and if non-fixed, then tall, and since perception determines usage, speakers will differ. To me, the mountain is high, whereas to my colleague it's tall. Usage is a matter of how one perceives the world.