1

Does anyone in the UK say flat building? I live in the US, mind, so I have no clue. It sounds a bit funny saying that. Do they say apartment building instead, maybe? Or is there another word for a whole building of flats?

6
  • we call flats in india, not flat building. – Emmanuel Angelo.R Jul 29 '14 at 7:44
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    you never hear "flat building". you hear "flats" or "block of flats". Questions about this have been asked 100000s of times on the net and many times on here - just search. – Fattie Jul 29 '14 at 10:13
  • Related:english.stackexchange.com/questions/33622/flat-vs-apartment – user66974 Jul 29 '14 at 10:44
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    @JoeBlow, I definitely did Google it and searched here in the first place. I didn't find specifically what I was looking for. I wouldn't have put this here if I didn't. And I was not asking for a difference between a flat and an apartment. Do not jump to conclusions. It's simply a question. – bridey Jul 30 '14 at 5:34
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    @JoeBlow, Josh, I think you might be being a bit unfair here. It is precisely because those types of questions and answers emphasise British English speakers' preference for flat over apartment that the OP is quite sensibly asking about its occurrence in this compound noun. The OP is obviously aware of the term apartment building, and want to know what we use instead or if we use the same term. It seems a perfectly reasonable follow-up from the well-known apartment/flat/condo usage question. None of the posts linked to provide the answer to this particular query. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Aug 1 '14 at 18:00
11

In the UK, you would probably say a block of flats, or -- especially in the case of public housing -- a tower block or high-rise, if it was more than about ten storeys tall.

If you perform Google image searches on those terms, you'll get a good idea of what they represent.

I've never heard an apartment building being referred to as a 'flat building'.

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  • +1 block of flats is specifically for free standing buildings designed for shared/communal housing. I'm not sure if there is a specific term for buildings which were normal houses that have now been converted into flats/bedsits. – Frank Jul 29 '14 at 6:10
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    @Josh61 - What you say you found in Google Books regarding the UK's usage of 'apartment building' and 'condo' -- the latter especially -- just doesn't square with my observations during my decades of being a native speaker of British English. I suspect that though most British people would understand 'apartment building', a great many would have no idea what a condo was. – Erik Kowal Jul 29 '14 at 6:32
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    @Josh61 Condo is not a well used term in the UK, apartment building would be understood to mean a building containing flats, possibly that is the term for a building converted into flats. When condo is used, I'd say it generally describes holiday rental/timeshare flats in high rise buildings abroad (outside the UK). – Frank Jul 29 '14 at 6:43
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    Flat building no, flatted building ... possibly, flatted accomodation yes. – Frank Jul 29 '14 at 6:45
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    "Flat" and "block of flats" is the normal UK term. "Apartment" and "Apartment block" is understood because we watch American TV. "Condo" is pretty much unknown. – DJClayworth Aug 7 '15 at 2:26
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As far as I know, an apartment is called a flat in the UK. And a building with flats is called a building or a residential building.

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  • bridey, if you actually want the answer, this downvoted answer appears to be perfectly correct. – Fattie Jul 29 '14 at 10:14
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    Joe Blow, no. It's not. – Tristan r Jul 29 '14 at 10:31

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