High and Tall – What’s the difference?

When do we say high and when do we say tall? What’s the difference? Learn the different meanings and uses of these English adjectives in this video.

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High Tall Video Script

I’m taller than you.
No, you’re not.
Yes, I am. (Vicki waves the magic wand)
How did you do that?

When do we use high and when do we use tall?

A bulb’s out. The ceiling’s too high. I can’t reach.

We use high to talk about how far off the gound things are. So we talk about high ceilings. We talk about high heels. And we say planes fly high in the sky.
Now this unicycle is a long way off the gound, so is it high or is it tall?
Well, the man riding it is high up, but we’d also say the unicycle is tall, because there’s another rule we follow.
When things are higher than they are wide, we say tall. People are higher than they’re wide, so we talk about tall people.

How tall are you?
Three metres.

Here are some more things that are tall. (tall trees, a tall glass, tall chimneys, tall grass, tall statues, a tall ladder)
When things are shorter than they’re wide, we say ‘high’. Let’s look at some things that are high. (high walls, a high fence, a high wave, a high hedge, high mountains)

OK Vicki, your first question for fifty dollars. What’s the highest mountain in the world?
It’s Mount Everest.
Right for fifty dollars!
And now your second question for two hundred dollars. What’s the tallest building in the world?
Oh! It’s in Dubai, I think.
The clock is ticking.
I can’t remember.
Oh, sorry Vicki. It’s the Burj Khalifa.
Oh!

This is our deck and that’s the Comcast Tower. It’s the tallest building between New York and Chicago.

The Comcast Tower is higher than it’s wide so we say it’s tall.
A window can be both high and tall but the meaning is different.
If it’s a high window, it’s a long way from the gorund. But if it’s a tall window, it’s higher than it’s wide.

Hey, give me that! (Jay grabs the wand) Now I’m taller than you!
Hmph!

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Click here to learn the difference between the adjectives interesting and interested
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