60 miles per hour

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Packard

Senior Member
USA, English
Context:

I recently said, "I was travelling 70 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone." Version #1

I did not say, "I was travelling 70 miles per hour in a 60 miles per hour zone." Version #2


Question:


My ear says the first version is fine, and the second one is not. Am I right? And why? I can't figure it out.
 
  • MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    "I was travelling 70 mile per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone." :tick:

    The sentence is referring to speed, not individual miles.

    "I was travelling at a speed of 70 m.p.h." :tick:
    "That wall is 20 foot high." :tick:
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "I was travelling 70 mile per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone." :tick:
    I would not say it that way and have never heard it that way. I would say it Packard's way.

    I'd also say "The wall is 20 feet high" and "I was travelling at a speed of 70 miles per hour."

    Edit: I might hyphenate the compound adjective: 60-mile-per-hour zone, but that doesn't answer the question.

    Another edit: I'd also say "It's a 20-foot-tall wall."
     
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    Miss Julie

    Senior Member
    English-U.S.
    I might hyphenate the compound adjective: 60-mile-per-hour zone, but that doesn't answer the question.
    It's because Americans usually drop the 's' when using compound adjectives...that's why Version 1 sounds right to you and Version 2 does not.

    (And I believe this is not done in British English.)
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I've said both to myself several times, and version #2 is the one that sounds right to me.

    But as Miss Julie suggests, this may be because I'm one of those BE speakers. Or it may just be me.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Miles per hour" is speed. That is what "mph" stands for. "Kph" stands for "kilometers per hour". This is standard usage in engineering and science: speed is describe as "<distance units> per <single time period>".

    I think "in a 60 mile per hour zone" should be written "in a 60-mile-per-hour zone". Then it is correct (in AE) to drop the "s".

    I recently said, "I was travelling 70 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone." Version #1
    What Packard probably said was "in a 60-mile-per-hour zone". But it sounds the same in spoken English (with and without the "-"s) so some people may think it is correct to write it without the "-"s.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I did not say, "I was travelling 70 miles per hour in a 60 miles per hour zone." Version #2
    Good!
    As a BE speaker, to me, the phrase is "60 mile per hour zone" but "60 miles an hour zone" - in the latter the "an" has an ellipsed "in".

    60 mile is one semantic unit (I'm sure there's a proper name for this.) It is common for the unit of distance following a number to be singular:
    "I am six foot."
    "I need four metre of 4 by 2."
    "The hole's three inch - it won't reach the bottom.
    "London is 17 mile from here."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "I am six foot."
    "I need four metre of 4 by 2."
    "The hole's three inch - it won't reach the bottom.
    "London is 17 mile from here."
    Wow! Do BE speakers talk like that? We sure don't say those things here in the U.S. of A(lmost-English).
     

    Piatkow

    Senior Member
    English - London
    I would say "miles an hour" but would write "miles per hour" if I thought it imappropriate to abbreviate to "mph".

    Unless I felt a strong need to expand the abbreviation I would always prefer "mph".
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I also say 'I'm six foot tall'. But I would say 'I need 4 metres of 4 by 2' and London is 17 miles from here'.

    If I had a 3-inch hole, I would say it was '3 inches deep/wide'.

    And I usually say ''miles an hour'.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Now that we have all agreed...:D we can go onto other pressing linguistic issues.

    I think I will stick with what "sounds" right to me, logic be damned.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

    Enjoy the weekend.

    Packard
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I couldn't live with myself if I said "London is 17 mile from here." :)

    So add me to the (extensive) list of people using plurals.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    "Miles per hour" is speed. That is what "mph" stands for. "Kph" stands for "kilometers per hour". This is standard usage in engineering and science: speed is describe as "<distance units> per <single time period>".
    When we were learning about the metric system in fourth(?) grade -- way back in the '60s, we were taught km/h, not kph.

    I almost always say "an hour," not "per hour," but other than that I agree with the other AE speakers: "60 miles an hour" and "a sixty-mile-an-hour zone. (Though my version of Packard's first sentence would be "I was doing seventy in a sixty."


    And what is this "weekend" of which you people speak?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Reading that aloud, I would say "We were taught kay-em-slash-aitch, not kay-pee-aitch."

    Actually, upon reflection I think that I usually use kilometres per hour* and miles an hour. Odd, that....


    * "kill-oh-ME-ters"
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I recently said, "I was travelling
    Is there any reason you prefer the BE/CE/AuE spelling "travelling"? I've just checked the three existing traveling-vs-travelling thread and couldn't find a post that says AmE speakers also use the BE/CE/AuE spelling.
     

    franzjekill

    Mod E/S
    Español rioplatense
    60 mile per hour zone.
    60-mile-per-hour is a phrasal adjective (it modifies the noun zone) and needless to say, adjectives are invariable, they only take the singular form. This has nothing to do with AE/BE.


    I was travelling 70 miles per hour
    "70 miles per hour…” is a noun and nouns have plural form.

    Be careful with speed...
    I couldn't live with myself if I said "London is 17 mile from here."
    I couldn't either. :) In your example, 17 miles is not an adjective, it is just a noun.
    I had to cover a one-hundred-mile distance (a phrasal adjective).
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Is there any reason you prefer the BE/CE/AuE spelling "travelling"? I've just checked the three existing traveling-vs-travelling thread and couldn't find a post that says AmE speakers also use the BE/CE/AuE spelling.
    Look at JustKate's comment in this thread:
    sailing - why not double "l"?

    Doesn't all that repetition sound too precise? Many would avoid the issue and just say 'I was doing 70 in a 60 zone.'
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "I was travelling 70 miles per hour in a 60-mile-per-hour zone." Version #3
    :)
    (Although I'd use "60-mile-an-hour zone", my being a BE speaker.)
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Americans usually drop the 's' when using compound adjectives
    The "adjective" doesn't even have to be compound.
    Think of "the drug problem" (sometimes "the drugs problem" in BE), "the refugee problem" (never "the refugees problem", I trust), or "a foot path".
    These examples involve more than one drug, refugee, or foot.
    It's as if when a noun "becomes" an adjective (or, evidently, part of a compound adjective), it gives up the noun's privilege of having a plural form.
     

    Miss Julie

    Senior Member
    English-U.S.
    The "adjective" doesn't even have to be compound.
    Think of "the drug problem" (sometimes "the drugs problem" in BE), "the refugee problem" (never "the refugees problem", I trust), or "a foot path".
    These examples involve more than one drug, refugee, or foot.
    It's as if when a noun "becomes" an adjective (or, evidently, part of a compound adjective), it gives up the noun's privilege of having a plural form.
    Right, that's what I meant...when using a noun as an adjective in general. ;)
     
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