Railing vs rail and fencing vs fence

Super Saiyan

Senior Member
Cantonese
When you see a rail or a fence, do you call it a rail or fence or railing/fencing? What is the difference between them? Thanks a lot.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    If you see it, you would probably call it a fence, unless it is an open lattice in rigid metal, in which case you might call it railings (usually plural, but "a railing" is sometimes used). Fencing (uncountable) tends not to be used for an individual fence, but it might be used for a collection of fences (the garden is enclosed by fencing) or for anything related to a fence (a fencing panel, for example).

    A rail is a horizontal wooden, metal or concrete part of a fence, but is not usually used for a fence itself (although there are exceptions.
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    If you see it, you would probably call it a fence, unless it is an open lattice in rigid metal, in which case you might call it railings (usually plural, but "a railing" is sometimes used). Fencing (uncountable) tends not to be used for an individual fence, but it might be used for a collection of fences (the garden is enclosed by fencing) or for anything related to a fence (a fencing panel, for example).

    A rail is a horizontal wooden, metal or concrete part of a fence, but is not usually used for a fence itself (although there are exceptions.
    Thanks, Uncle Jack. What do you call it? The first one in the picture? Is it a rail or railing? Thanks

    Outdoor Equipment Archives - Party Rentals Gardena
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks, Uncle Jack. What do you call it? The first one in the picture? Is it a rail or railing? Thanks

    Outdoor Equipment Archives - Party Rentals Gardena
    That's rather a specialised use. I would call a row of these things joined together a fence, barricade or barrier. I don't know that I have ever needed to refer to one on its own. "Barricade rail" seems a good enough description; the "rail" being the top horizontal part. However, it isn't just a rail; the vertical bars are intended to stop people from getting underneath; a true "rail" does not have these.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    That's rather a specialised use. I would call a row of these things joined together a fence, barricade or barrier. I don't know that I have ever needed to refer to one on its own. "Barricade rail" seems a good enough description; the "rail" being the top horizontal part. However, it isn't just a rail; the vertical bars are intended to stop people from getting underneath; a true "rail" does not have these.
    :thumbsup:
    I'd add a couple of overgeneralizations:

    a rail is the top horizontal element in a railing. (It can also exist without the rest - such as a handrail on a wall)
    a fence is created by erecting fencing (material)
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    That's rather a specialised use. I would call a row of these things joined together a fence, barricade or barrier. I don't know that I have ever needed to refer to one on its own. "Barricade rail" seems a good enough description; the "rail" being the top horizontal part. However, it isn't just a rail; the vertical bars are intended to stop people from getting underneath; a true "rail" does not have these.
    I always thought that's a railing. I should now call it a barrier or barricade.
     
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