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As I try to read Chinese articles, I begin to encounter 距. Some examples are:

该列车用的是世界最先进的100%低地板技术,车辆地板距轨道面仅35cm (TCB).

飛機於距地面一千米處爆炸 (Pleco).

天津距北京約有一百二十公里 (Pleco)

Is 距 preferred in written Chinese? Is it preferred for vertical distances?

I also found an example that might suggest the two are absolutely interchangeable.

距市中心不远的地方就是可以独自滑雪或漫步的林地区域。(Youdao)

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    距 is short form for 距離 (distance from); you can replace 距 with 距離 in all the examples you listed – Tang Ho Mar 20 '18 at 13:43
  • @TangHo thanks! Does that explain when to prefer it over 離? – Ludi Mar 20 '18 at 13:45
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    You can also replace 距 with 離 in all the examples above. – Tang Ho Mar 20 '18 at 13:46
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    距 is more literary and 離 is more colloquial – Tang Ho Mar 20 '18 at 13:51
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距, 离 and 距离, these three can be replaced with each other and would Not change the meaning. But 距 is slightly more formal, but only slightly. In speaking, 离 and 距离 is used more commonly.

However, they are used when expressing distances, doesn’t matter whether vertical or horizontal, you can use either of these three words

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距 is short form for 距離 (distance from)

  • you can replace 距 with 距离 in all the examples you listed.

  • You can also replace 距 with 离 in all the examples above.

  • 距 is more literary and 离 is more colloquial

S.Gu wrote:

However, they are used when expressing distances, doesn’t matter whether vertical or horizontal, you can use either of these three words

Furthermore, 距离 literally means "Away from". It can be used to describe 'distance from' like all the examples mentioned in the question, and it can also be used to describe 'time till' For example: "距离东京奥运尚有854天" (still 854 days away from Tokyo Olympics = Time till Tokyo Olympics is 854 days)

"离东京奥运尚有854天" is also correct

"距东京奥运尚有854天" is not incorrect, but sounds too literal and formal

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距、距离、离:"汉英虚词词典"距(介词)A表示空间的间隔;宾语多是表示处所的词语,也可是一般体词:1。连队在那~山顶不太远的松林里,为医院设一个临时营地。(王愿坚[普通劳动者])2。献策如今不在开封,倒是~此地只有二百多里。(姚雪垠[李自成])3。~礼堂还有几十米远,他便听见一个空瓮似的声音。。。(舜吉[脑科学家的麻烦])4。李自成同将士们在一起,。。。忽德探马禀报,说看见一股骑兵从兴山方面过来,~此不过十里。(姚雪圻[李自成])5。最后一排~乐池一百九十四英尺。(报)6。听众~演奏者不宜太近。B用于时间的间隔:1。~结婚的时期已近。。。(叶圣陶[倪焕之])2。在~今五,六万年以前的"北京人"的遗物中,有用贝壳缀成的装饰品,用兽牙串成的项练。(报)3。毛主席这一演讲~今已经四十二年了。(报)4。到了韩愈这个时代,上~孔子已经三十八世。。。(郭予衡[杰出的散文学家韩愈])C表示抽象意义的差距:1。有时真理~我们仿佛只有一纸之隔。(报)2。我们的工作~人民的要求还很远。

参看"距离""离"

距离(介词) 同'距",较"距"口语化A 同"距"A:1。官庄~油庄不到两里路。(骆兵基[父女俩])2。影子~他划的线还有一指多。(王愿坚(普通劳动者])3。矮个子。。。站在~对方的三步以外。(吴强[红日])4。这个地方~河槽还有一段地。(刘流[烈火金钢])5。~高司令近的这伙人是伪省府的高级成员。。。(李英儒[野火春风斗古城])B同"距"B:1。现在~二000年,还有二十一年的时间。(报)2。太早了,~和小华约定的时间还有八个钟头,这八个钟头怎么过呀?(草明[爱情])3。我认为全部合作化~今天还很远。(王安友[整社基点村的一天])C同"距"C:1。我们的政权~一个完全的国家形态还很远。。。(毛泽东[中国革命战争的战略问题])2。假如果真是这么个用意,~"现在化"岂止十万八千里?(叶圣陶[大力研究语文教学,尽快改进语文教学])3。他原来和我志同道合,可是现在他的思想~我越来越远了。

离(介词)同"距"但很口语化A同"距"B,表示时间的差距:1。现在~开饭的时间还早,你拿点东西给他吃吧。(周而复[上海的早晨])2。他不过才二十一岁,~他参军的时间不到两年,~他入团的时候不到一年,他怎么有这样伟大的气概,这样叫人感泣的胸怀!(巍巍[这里是今天的东方])3。可是秋收以后~上冻不到一个月工夫,要是等收完了秋再扩社,扩社完了渠道就不好开了。(赵树理[三里湾])4。~二十七还有十多天,他完全注意到这一天上去,心里想的,口中念道的,梦中梦见的,全是二十七。(老舍[骆驼祥子])B 同"距"A,表示空间的差距:1。现在~最后大的目的地四阜新只有四站地了。(杨朔[秘密列车])2。姚池~我们县城九十多里,从县城到柳溪还有三十多里,一共是一百多里。(李心田[闪闪的红星])3。苹果园~花圣地很近,他有两天没去看了,因此他趁着休息时间跑到苹果树地去查看。(李准[林业委员])4。二发炮弹,落在~第四十四界程碑五百米处。(报)C同"距"C,表示抽象的差距:1。我们在这方面所做的,~爸爸的希望、党和人民的要求还很远。(报)2。与党的好女儿张志新烈士相比,深感自己~一个共产党员的标准还差得很远。(报)3。"和你说不成!"宋老大无可奈何地摆着手,说:"你这思想呀,~社会主义还差十万八千里哩!"(西戎[宋老大进城])

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