Redwood trees can measure 30 or 40 feet around. [AE vs BE]

homotopy07

Senior Member
Japanese
14 American English used to show the length of a line surrounding something
Redwood trees can measure 30 or 40 feet around.
LDOCE | around

Question: Does the example sentence above sound unnatural in British English?
 
  • Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It sounds good to me.

    I would have said "in circumference", but that is probably because of studying science and maths.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    AE typically favours around while BE uses round more, but also uses around.
    Collins (BE) @WRF:
    on or outside the circumference or perimeter: the racing track is two miles round
    I also see this in subtitles written by AE speakers - they will write 'round (with the apostophe) where the BE speaker said "round" without an apostrophe :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You might find this usage note about round and around from Lexico useful:
    Are round and around (as preposition and adverbial particle) interchangeable in all contexts? In many contexts in British English they are, as in she put her arm round him; she put her arm around him. There is, however, a general preference for round to be used for definite, specific movement (she turned round; a bus came round the corner), while around tends to be used in contexts which are less definite (she wandered around for ages; costing around £3,000) or for abstract uses (a rumour circulating around the cocktail bars). In US English the situation is different. The normal form in most contexts is around; round is generally regarded as informal or non-standard and is only standard in certain fixed expressions, as in all year round and they went round and round in circles
    ROUND | Meaning & Definition for UK English | Lexico.com

    I think in this context around works find in BrE because this is a concrete/physical thing and does not refer to movement. I would prefer around to round in this context.
     
    Last edited:

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    AE typically favours around while BE uses round more, but also uses around.
    Collins (BE) @WRF:
    on or outside the circumference or perimeter: the racing track is two miles round
    I also see this in subtitles written by AE speakers - they will write 'round (with the apostophe) where the BE speaker said "round" without an apostrophe :)
    I think the example quote is misleading, referring not to the perimeter of the racing track but the length of a circuit for anyone who has to run/ride/drive it. I cannot imagine using "round" to describe a circumference in modern English (although clearly it was used in the past). Unlike "around", it is not clear enough. The tower is a hundred feet tall and fifty feet round. It is round, we know that, but is its circumference fifty feet or is its diameter fifty feet? Contrast with the tower that is fifty feet square, where "fifty feet" refers to the length of one side, not to the perimeter length, which is two hundred feet.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    If somebody told me that a tower was 50 feet round I would assume that was the circumference. I would not think for one moment that they were talking about diameter. I see no connection with describing a square.

    As for the redwoods, I'd probably say "round", not "around".
     
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