How To Write Height In Feet And Inches (10+ Examples Of Best Practice)

There are plenty of language rules in English that we’ve come across before that seem to be different based on which stylebook you use. How to write height is one such example of knowing the difference between two stylebooks and how they should look written down. So, how do we write height in feet and inches?

What Is The Best Practice Of How To Write Height In Feet And Inches?

The correct way to write height is by using the Chicago Manual Stylebook guidelines or the AP Stylebook guidelines. Chicago Manual Style says that “five feet, six inches” is the correct practice (or “five-feet-six-inches” as an adjective). The AP Stylebook says that “5-foot-6-inches” is correct, though the hyphens can be dropped if you’re using the height as an adjective. Both styles say that you can write “5’6″” to indicate height as well, where apostrophes are “foot” and speech marks are “inches.”

The stylebook you choose to use depends on how you’re writing, and we’ll get to that more specifically later. However, it’s best practice to use the AP Stylebook, as it’s more commonly seen in most writing outlets (like journalism).

How To Write Height According To The Chicago Manual Style

So, let’s get a little more familiar with the first stylebook – the Chicago Manual. When writing height with rules from the Chicago Manual, we’ll need to keep all of the numbers in the height as words. It’s not often that you’d see numbers written as numbers (i.e., “one” instead of “1”) with the Chicago manual. Typically, you won’t be hyphenating the words when you’re only using them as a descriptor and nothing else.

The hyphenation rule is included in the height when we use it as an adjective. Simply put, if a noun or object comes directly after the height words in a sentence, then we’d make sure to hyphenate it. Either way, if we’re hyphenating it, we’re still keeping all the numbers as written out words. It’s also worth noting that there should always be a comma between the two measurements, so “feet comma inches” needs to be practiced.

Let’s look through some examples to give you an idea of how the Chicago Manual Style looks when using height.

  • She is five foot, six inches.
  • The five-foot-six-inch girl is coming soon.
  • He is six foot, one inch.
  • The six-foot-one-inch man is so tall.
  • I want to grow to be six foot, six inches.

You can see the various examples here for both the descriptive form (without hyphens) and the adjective form (with hyphens).

How To Write Height According To The AP Stylebook

Now let’s look at the more common way to write height in most writing outlets. The AP Stylebook is utilized in most journalism branches globally, so it’s fairly common to see it pop up. With AP rules, we’re allowed to write out all the numbers as numbers, which is opposite to the Chicago Manual’s expected. However, we must always spell out the measurement, whether it’s inches, feet, ounces, or anything else.

Next up, it’s important to know how the descriptive and adjective forms work in the AP Stylebook. Although, to be honest, the rules are very much the same as you’d expect from the Chicago Manual. We don’t need hyphens to indicate someone or something’s height in the descriptive form, but we do need a comma. We need the hyphens between the numbers and words in the adjective form to modify the noun or object.

So what does that mean in practice? Well, it’s time to look at a few more examples and see for yourselves!

  • She is 5 foot, 6 inches.
  • The 5-foot-6-inch girl is on her way.
  • He is 6 foot, 1 inch.
  • The 6-foot-1-inch man is taller than me.
  • I want to grow up to be 6 foot, 6 inches.

In each of these examples, you’ll see that we’re allowed to use numbers instead of words to indicate someone’s height. However, we’re still using the same rules very much as we’d see in the Chicago Manual in each case. The overall difference is all that dissimilar, so as long as you learn the rules for one, you should have an easy time remembering the rules for the other.

How To Choose Between The Chicago Manual Style And The AP Stylebook When Writing Height

That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t help much if you’re only here to choose between the two styles. Is there some defining rule that must be followed when you want to write about height for yourself? Does one style outweigh the other? Well, the answer is simple. It depends. It depends on your style, your tone, and what you’re writing for overall.

If you want to get more familiar with them, the Chicago Manual Style with the numbers spelled out as words is considered the more formal option of the two. So, if you’re writing for something like an academic paper or a business plan, then that might be the best option. However, the AP Style is more informal since we’re using numbers instead of the spelled out words. We can use that style in just about any other situation where we need to write about height.

There’s one more thing that we haven’t covered yet that the two stylebooks have in common as well. There’s one more way to write height in both books that makes it a little easier for anyone wanting to use it. However, this way is considered informal even in the Chicago Manual, so make sure you know your audience before using this one.

This final style works the same way in both stylebooks. Basically, we no longer spell out the measurement words, meaning that we don’t need to write “feet” and “inches.” We also don’t need to write out the words for each number in the Chicago Manual. Instead, we simply need the numbers, some apostrophes, and a speech mark. “5’6″” is the appropriate way to say “5 foot, 6 inches” in both styles. The apostrophe is used in place of “foot,” and the speech marks are used in place of “inches.” It helps to streamline writing height in any form of writing.