altitude/the altitude

flamboyant lad

Senior Member
What will the pilot say if the airplane is about to crash?

We're losing the altitude.
We're losing altitude.

And I also want to know what's the difference in these sentences?
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    << Topic drift. >>

    Earlier in the proceedings he might say "We're losing altitude". The difference is that the other version is wrong. The altitude is a continuously variable measure of height above a fixed reference, so you can't lose "the altitude". You still have an altitude, all the way into the ground.
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    American English
    No, because the point is not that you aren't at the proper altitude, the point is that you're getting lower and lower.

    If you want to say "we are no longer at the proper altitude," you need to say that.
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