(?) The biggest squid ever caught, up to 10 metres long, may be small …

8769

Senior Member
Japanese and Japan
The passage #1, below, is from yesterday’s newspaper.
1. The biggest squid ever caught, at up to 10 metres long and boasting a fearsome beak and razor-sharp hooks, may be small compared to others still lurking in the depths, scientists said.

If it were #2, below, would it be grammatically wrong and unnatural English?
2. The biggest squid ever caught, up to 10 metres long and boasting a fearsome beak and razor-sharp hooks, may be small compared to others still lurking in the depths, scientists said.

When I read this passage, I wondered if the "at" was necesssary there.
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    The "at" needs to be there because it's not grammatically correct without it. To simplify, let's say we know that the squid was exactly 10 metres long (the "up to" is just a way of expressing an estimation). If the squid is 10 metres long, we would say "The biggest squid ever caught, at 10 metres long and....". We would not say "the biggest squid ever caught, 10 metres long...".
     

    8769

    Senior Member
    Japanese and Japan
    Thank you, Dimcl, for your prompt reply.

    I found a sentence, #3, below, at some web site.
    3. Since he was a strikingly attractive man, almost two meters tall, women practically besieged him as they would a film star nowadays.

    I wonder why, in this case, it is not like #4, below.
    4. Since he was a strikingly attractive man, at almost two meters tall, women practically besieged him as they would a film star nowadays.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    The "at" needs to be there because it's not grammatically correct without it. To simplify, let's say we know that the squid was exactly 10 metres long (the "up to" is just a way of expressing an estimation). If the squid is 10 metres long, we would say "The biggest squid ever caught, at 10 metres long and....". We would not say "the biggest squid ever caught, 10 metres long...".
    Interesting, to 8769's questions I am adding mine:
    How about the following sentences:
    There is a barn 10 meters long with two doors.
    Source
    Trench ALSM, 10 meters long, returned an average of 43.46 g/t Au
    Source

    How diffrent are these from the sentence in question, are they wrong then?

    Tom
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think the odd thing about this sentence is up to. Was the squid 10 metres long or wasn't it? Does up to include a squid 2 inches long? Is the paper concerned that it will get sued if it leaves out up to and the squid turns out to be 9.99 metres long?
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I think the important thing is that at up to 10 metres long it may be small compared to... We need the 'at' to emphasize that comparison. And I think, from reading newspaper reports here in the squid's home country (tee-hee), that the 'up to' part is included because the squid is still thawing out and it's difficult to get an exact measurement in its curled-up frozen state.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Interesting, to 8769's questions I am adding mine:
    How about the following sentences:
    There is a barn 10 meters long with two doors.
    Source
    Trench ALSM, 10 meters long, returned an average of 43.46 g/t Au
    Source
    How diffrent are these from the sentence in question, are they wrong then?

    Tom
    The wording of your first example precludes the use of "at". In order for the sample sentence to not need "at", it would have to be worded something like: "A large squid, 10 metres long and boasting a fearsome beak and ...."

    In your second example, the list of trenches is just that - a list. They are not even complete sentences. The trenches in your link have actually been "named" and the whole context is like saying:

    A: "Okay, men, line up by height: Thomas1, 6 feet tall, Dimcl, 5 feet tall, Gwan, 4 feet tall"

    If we were to rearrange the sample sentence, it would read:

    "At 10 metres long and boasting..., the biggest squid ever caught may be small compared to..."

    "At" is used to emphasize the comparison between this large squid and the possibly even larger squid still lurking in the oceans. It's used all the time in this way:

    "At 12 years of age, you'd think he'd be able to read better than he does" OR
    "At 2 feet tall, he is still the tallest in his family of little people"
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    It is much more clear now, thanks.

    A follow-up question:
    Would the following alteration of the sentence in question work:
    The biggest squid ever caught, 10 meters
    long and boasting a fearsome beak and razor-sharp hooks, died in the cutter whose crew hauled it
    onboard. ?


    Tom
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    It is much more clear now, thanks.

    A follow-up question:
    Would the following alteration of the sentence in question work:
    The biggest squid ever caught, 10 meters long and boasting a fearsome beak and razor-sharp hooks, died in the cutter whose crew hauled it
    onboard. ?


    Tom
    Yes, this sentence is fine, Tom.
     
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