under (a/the) speed of {number}

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TommyGun

Senior Member
Hello,

Imagine two friends are driving an old car:

Sam: - We are driving only under the speed of 50 mph and I can hear a strange sound from the engine.
John: - We are lucky we are not under a speed of 100 mph. The car would start to fall apart at that speed.

Would it sound better for John to say "under the speed of 100 mph"?

Of course, the friends could be concise and just say "under 50/100 mph", but they are intentionally wordy.
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Somebody needs to explain to John that if they are under 50, they are also under 100. :D

    Anyway, no, we don't say "the speed of" in that type of context, we say "a speed of," although as you suggest, 98% of the time we'd say "under 50" (without even saying "MPH.")
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    I suggest: "We are only driving at (a speed of) XX mph" or "We are driving at (a speed of) less than 50 mph" [I wouldn't bother with "a speed of" myself but you seem to want to include it ;)
     
    Last edited:

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    Thank you for answers.

    Anyway, no, we don't say "the speed of" in that type of context, we say "a speed of," although as you suggest, 98% of the time we'd say "under 50" (without even saying "MPH.")
    The quirk is that as far I know, we would definitely say "drive at a speed of ..", but if we substituted under for at, the article would change to the (drive under the speed of ..).
     
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