The building has 5 floors above ground and 1 floor below ground

Discussion in 'English Only' started by singsing, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. singsing Senior Member

    Hi everyone,
    I have a question about describing how tall a building is (including basement levels).

    Does it make sense to say:

    The building has 5 floors above ground and 1 floor below ground(=lower level1)??

    or how about

    The building is 5 storeys high with 1 basement floor?

    I don't want it to sound grammatically wrong. I'd really appreciate your help.
    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The basement isn't included in how many storeys/floors 'high' it is. So if it's five storeys high and has a basement, it has six floors altogether.

    Now, 'below ground' is simple, so 'above ground' should mean all the floors that aren't below ground - including the one you walk into at street level. This is called the 'ground floor' in BrE, 'first floor' in AmE. But 'five floors above ground' sounds very similar to 'five floors above the ground floor' - that is, there would be six above-ground floors, named (in BrE) ground, first, . . ., fifth. However, I think it is clear that your first sentence does mean the same as your second.

    (Note: You need a plural in your second sentence. It is 5 storeys high = it is a 5-storey building.)
  3. singsing Senior Member

    Thank you very much, entanglebank.
  4. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Just to clarify: We use both "first floor" and "ground floor" for the one at street level; the difference is that even when we refer to it as the ground floor, the one immediately above it is the second floor (not the "first" as in BrE). And our other word for level in a building, which is spelled "storey" in BrE, is spelled story in AmE.
  5. singsing Senior Member

    Thank you for your clarification. :)

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