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    #1

    Using "tall" for animals?

    Hello,

    I wonder whether it's okay to use the adjective "tall" for animals. A few days ago, a student asked me about that and I must admit that I couldn't give him a definite answer (I'm new to teaching English and students still manage to surprise me with their questions from time to time, ahem. ). I'm not a native speaker but "tall" feels strange to me in this case - unless it's a giraffe (something obviously tall) or unless you want to say exactly how tall something is. I'd rather use "large" instead.

    May I ask about your opinion?

  1. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Using "tall" for animals?

    It may not be common usage, but "tall" is definitely used in more technical situations when discussing the height of dogs and many other animals. For example, a veterinarian exmaining a particular dog might measure the animal's height (typically from the top of the shoulder to the ground) during the dog's annual check-up and he will note on the animal's chart that it is "X inches tall and weighs Y pounds". The American Kennel Club classifies the different types of poodles by height and specifically state in their rules, for example, that a "toy" poodle must be 10 inches tall or less.

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    #3

    Talking Re: Using "tall" for animals?

    Quote Originally Posted by vanilka View Post
    ... "tall" feels strange to me in this case - unless it's a giraffe...
    I got this joke a couple of days ago:
    Giraffes don't use drugs; they're just naturally high.

    (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

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    #4

    Re: Using "tall" for animals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    I agree with you. I can't imagine a tall cat or a tall dog. The only way I have heard tall in reference to an animal is when a horse is described as being so many hands tall. I'd opt for large in most cases.
    In BrE, I have heard number + hands high for horses.


    If a dog or cat had extraordinarily long legs, I could use tall, but normally I'd use big.

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