At a high speed

Ju

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"The train was going at a high speed."

Can I omit "a" in the above sentence?

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tedmc

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I would say the indefinite article is optional.
 

emsr2d2

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It's optional and I prefer the sentence without it.
 

Tdol

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I would only use it if there were a reason for doing so in the wider context. The standard version for me would not have the article.
 

teechar

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Consider "traveling" instead of "going" in that sentence.
 

SoothingDave

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It seems better to me with the "a."
 

GoesStation

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It seems better to me with the "a."
Me too. I thought it was another British/American difference until I looked at the N-grams. In print, "at high speed" is much more common in both variants.
 

SoothingDave

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To me, I would probably use "high speed" if something had only 2 (or whatever) fixed speeds, like a fan. It's on low speed or high speed.

Something like a train that is variable would be operating at a high speed (out of many possible speeds that could be considered "high.")
 
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teechar

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The word "traveling" works better than "going" when you're talking about trains.

A train was traveling at ... etc.
 

emsr2d2

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"Going" is fine in BrE.
 

GoesStation

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Either verb works for me. I see that "traveling/travelling" are a lot more common in both AmE and BrE books
 

emsr2d2

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They're probably more common in books and in formal writing but in everyday speech, "going" is perfectly normal in BrE.
 

GoesStation

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They're probably more common in books and in formal writing but in everyday speech, "going" is perfectly normal in BrE.
And in American English. I'm surprised that it lags "traveling" by such a great margin.

I've learned more about Google's Ngram viewer. You can combine phrases and perform arithmetic on the results. Here's a chart showing the relative frequency of either traveling at high speed or travelling at high speed and going at high speed. Traveling​ has been between two and four times more popular for the last eighty-some years.
 
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teechar

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but in everyday speech, "going" is perfectly normal in BrE.
And in the above context, I think "fast" would be more common in colloquial English than "at high speed".
 

Tdol

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Something like a train that is variable would be operating at a high speed (out of many possible speeds that could be considered "high.")

I would use it if the train were going at a higher speed than normal, so it's similar but in different circumstances.
 
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