ground floor, first floor etc.

casino

Senior Member
Japanese
In British English, the ground floor is the first floor in American
English and the first floor is the second floor in American English.
When American people use the ground floor, what do they call the second floor? The second floor or the first floor?

Casino
 
  • dobes

    Senior Member
    US English(Boston/NY)
    We use "ground floor" and "first floor" interchangeably. If you walk up a flight of stairs, you reach the second floor, whether you call the floor you started on the ground floor or the first.
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi casino,

    Welcome to the forums.

    The word reference dictionary (available at the top of this page), is quite powerful. When I looked up "ground floor" I found a couple of existing threads that have already considered your question.

    Look here , for example.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    We use "ground floor" and "first floor" interchangeably. If you walk up a flight of stairs, you reach the second floor, whether you call the floor you started on the ground floor or the first.
    To add to the confusion of students, we also use "street floor" to mean "first floor" and "ground floor".
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    In British English, the ground floor is the first floor in American
    English and the first floor is the second floor in American English.
    When American people use the ground floor, what do they call the second floor? The second floor or the first floor?

    Casino

    If we were told Company A has its offices on the ground floor of that building and Company B has its offices on the second floor, we would ordinarily conclude that Company B is located on the floor above Company A.

    However, there are occasional exceptions. Here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, I know of at least two buildings, one a nursing home and the other an apartment building, which have both a ground and a first floor. Both are built on land which slopes and as a result have entrances on two different levels. The second floor in those buildings would thus be two floors above the ground floor.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    I am sure the mplsray's exceptions are not the only ones, but I am sure they are all commented on as to how confusing it is for the visitors. I'm with cuchuflete on this one if you're looking for general rules. Most lobbies are on the ground floor, or first floor of a building. The floor right above that is the second floor.
     

    birder

    Senior Member
    Although I am a native speaker of Canadian / American English, I have a technical question about UK usage.

    In the UK which system is in use for the designation of floors in a bulding?

    Continental system: Ground floor, first floor (one flight above), etc.

    American system: First floor (at ground level), second floor (one flight above), etc.

    Thank you.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The UK/Irish system of designating floors is the one you describe as Continental.

    This is as distinct from storeys, where the UK uses the US system but with storey substituted for floor

    However, on The Continent (i.e. Europe) houses are not described by floor but by storey (Stockwerk, Etage, etc) and this (as in UK/IRE) includes the ground floor.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    This is as distinct from storeys, where the UK uses the US system but with storey substituted for floor

    However, on The Continent (i.e. Europe) houses are not described by floor but by storey (Stockwerk, Etage, etc) and this (as in UK/IRE) includes the ground floor.
    I am ~ frankly ~ baffled by this part of your post, Mr Q. Would you care to elaborate, please.
     

    interwrit

    Senior Member
    Polish
    <<Moderator note - please search before starting a new thread. I found this thread by entering "ground floor first" in the search box and have merged your question here>>

    Hi there!

    How is it with the American convention where the 'first' floor is the floor at the ground level and the floor above it is the 'second' floor? How is this 'first' floor called? A lobby, a ground floor or what? Does it work with private, family houses in the same way as with big office buildings?

    Thanks a million in advance!
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    It's normally called "the first floor." Sometimes it's "the ground floor," but "first floor" is more common. It's the same in buildings of all sizes and uses.

    With a large office building, hotel or something like that, sometimes the management might choose to call the first floor something different, such as "Lobby Level" or (as is the case in a building I visited recently" "Canal Level." But normally, the first floor is just called "the first floor."
     

    interwrit

    Senior Member
    Polish
    If you want to say somebody in which part of a building are how will you say, 'I'm on the 11th stor(e)y' or 'I'm on the 11th floor'.

    Next, how would you say, 'a 2/30-stor(e)y-house/building' or 'a 2/30-floor-house/building'.
     
    Last edited:

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I replied, but here it is again:

    Well, here's what I say. If I'm describing something inside the building, I use floor, e.g., "I'm on the 11th floor." If I'm describing the outside of the building, I use story, e.g., "It's an 11-story building." Maybe on rare occasions I might switch those around, but I really don't think so, because in my mind, the associations between inside-floor, and outside-story are really strong.
     
    Top