What’s the difference: HIGH or TALL?

Hi English learners! Have you ever been in doubt about whether to use high or tall when talking about height? So, let’s find out what’s the difference: high or tall?

When to use HIGH

The rule of thumb is to use high for things when we think about how far they are from the ground or how far it is from their bottom to top. 

  • A hot air balloon can fly as high as 3000 miles.
  • Month Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe.
  • She was wearing shoes with high heels.
  • The walls around the fortress were thick and high.

We also use high to talk about quantity or amount.

  • Prices are getting higher.
  • Cook the meat at a high temperature to get a golden brown colour.
  • They used some high-quality paper for the book.

When to use TALL

However, when talking about people, use tall, not high.

  • John is the tallest boy in the class.
  • Michelle is a tall and slim basketball player.
  • He is nearly as tall as his father.

Also, use tall to describe things that are high and narrow such as buildings and trees.

  • St. Paul’s cathedral used to be the tallest building in London.
  • Baobab trees grow very tall.
  • They usually serve cocktails in tall glasses.
Do the quiz to perfect your knowledge:
  1. The standard of living in this country is not very tall/high.
  2. The children flew the kite high/tall.
  3. Sandra was a tall/high girl with long brown hair.
  4. What is the tallest/highest building in your country?
  5. The houses in this are usually surrounded by high/tall brick walls.
  6. Giraffes are very tall/high animals.

(Key: 1. high, 2. high, 3. tall, 4. tallest, 5. high, 6. high)

Click here to learn 6 idioms and expressions using the adjective “high”

What's the difference: HIGH or TALL?
What’s the difference: HIGH or TALL?

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