Medium Vs Medium-sized

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everybody,

Is there a difference between "medium" and "medium-sized" meaning "neither large nor small'' in the examples I created below?

a. I am going to buy a medium car Vs medium-sized car. I don't want a very big or a very small vehicle.
b. They are investing money in the production of medium bottles Vs medium-sized bottles for soft drinks.

*I think medium-sized is more clear than medium, which depends more on context. I also think that medium-sized is formal, whereas medium is neither formal or informal.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If you mean size, you need to say so. This is because the word medium can be applied to many other things too:

    medium-sized, medium strength, medium weight, medium length, medium height, etc.


    EDIT: However, if, for example, something comes in specified sizes of small, medium and large, then obviously using the word medium on its own is fine.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would use "medium-sized" in both your sentences. You could possibly use "average-sized" in relation to cars.
    I'm not sure you can do that.

    The average size of cars in America is probably "medium sized" though "mid-sized" might be a better word choice.

    But the average size of cars in India might be "small" based upon my viewing of photos of traffic in India. (I might be wrong on this, however.)

    But the point is that "average size" might not equate with "medium sized".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It seems to me that you should only use 'medium' if that is exactly how the thing in question is labelled.
    For example, I could wander into a shop and ask for a medium black t-shirt because I know that these are labelled small, medium, large, etc.

    As far as I know, there is no such meaning for 'medium' in relation to cars. A short search on rental sites in the UK classes cars as economy, compact, standard ... In that context, asking for a 'medium' car would be understood, but is perhaps not natural usage. Asking for a 'medium-sized' car would be fine.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It seems to me that you should only use 'medium' if that is exactly how the thing in question is labelled.
    For example, I could wander into a shop and ask for a medium black t-shirt because I know that these are labelled small, medium, large, etc.

    As far as I know, there is no such meaning for 'medium' in relation to cars. A short search on rental sites in the UK classes cars as economy, compact, standard ... In that context, asking for a 'medium' car would be understood, but is perhaps not natural usage. Asking for a 'medium-sized' car would be fine.
    In the USA we have:

    Sub-compact cars
    compact cars
    mid-sized cars
    large cars

    Since there are four I guess there can be no "medium sized car" but since the "sub-compact" car is a later development I think most people of my age would refer "mid-sized cars" as medium sized, though that term is alien to my ears in reference to cars.
     
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