ground floor, ground zero, first floor

Discussion in 'English Only' started by birdman, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. birdman

    birdman Senior Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    In Asia, the "first floor" is always the first story of a building.

    When I traveled to the European countries, I saw the "first floor" marked in an elevator is actually the second story of the building. So where is the actual first floor? How do you call the first story of a building?

    And, how do you call the first/second/third floor below the ground.
  2. xafire Member

    Spain, Spanish
    It would be the entrance of the building, the floor where the elevator is, the second floor would be the first floor the elevator takes you.
  3. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    Asia is a rather large place, and what they do in China or Japan is not what is done everywhere else.

    India, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia all use the "European" system of floor numbering, which is also used in Ireland, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, &c, &c.

    In those countries, what Americans call the First Floor is the Ground Floor, and what Americans call the Second Floor is the First Floor, and so on.

    Some [very few] buildings in Australia use Levels.
    In those buildings Level One is what Americans call the First Floor, Level Two is what Americans call the Second Floor, and so on.
  4. birdman

    birdman Senior Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    To make it clearer, let me graph what I now understand and what I still need to know:

    | America, China, Japan: second floor
    | Europe, some other areas: first floor/ Australia: level two
    | America, China, Japan: first floor
    | Europe, some other areas: ground floor/ Australia: level one
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (ground)
    | basement??
    | ??
    | ??
    | ??

    << Response to deleted post.>>
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2011
  5. Orange Blossom Senior Member

    U.S.A. English
    There are some inconsistencies of floor names in the United States also:

    I have seen: basement, Ground floor, 1, 2, 3

    I have seen Basement 1, 2, 3, 4

    I have seen Ground, 1, mezzanine, 2, 3, 4

    I have seen sub-basement, basement, ground, 1, 2, 3, mezzanine, 4, 5

    I have seen ground, 2, 3, 4

    I get confused with "ground floor" in buildings that have 2 or more floors with exits that lead directly outside. This is caused by the terrain the buildings are on.

    Basement levels: I have sometimes seen letter codes. Other times I have seen 001, 002, 003 etc. for basement levels

    I generally have to beg for a building map when these alternate naming situations come up. Traditionally, the names were: basement, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

    Orange Blossom
  6. Ah_poix_e Senior Member

    Sorry for bringing this up, but it seems to me logic to place my question here.

    What would you call to floors which are underground? Say you would have -1, -2, and -3, all below the ground floor (or first floor, whatever you call to the floor which is leveled with the outside pavement :))?

    Would you call to -1 first floor below ground/first floor? And so on to the floors below this one?
  7. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    You might review subbasement in our dictionary here.
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    From my limited experience with buildings like that, they have floors/levels labeled as B1, B2, B3 etc for basement 1, basement 2 etc. (If they are levels for car parks then they might be labeled P1 , P2 etc)
  9. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I went to my dentist yesterday and the elevator buttons were labeled like this:

    LL- Lower level
    L - Lobby
    2- 2nd floor

    Note that many building skip floor numbers for 13. So the buttons say, 11,12,14,15 etc.

    Where I live and work the buildings don't go that high. I don't know if this is still the current practice. It used to be a convention.

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