I've read once about "x stories" .. Want to know if there is any difference between stories and floors.

Or they are just alias for each other used in different variations of English language?

  • 5
    In speaking I would usually say "I work on the 15th floor of a 60 story building." I almost always hear "story" used to refer to the overall height of the building (in terms of number of floors), I have never heard "I work on the 7th story" in my life. Oct 27, 2014 at 5:16
  • 8
    As an aside, because you have this tagged as 'American-English,' it is written "story" not "storey" in the US. Oct 27, 2014 at 5:18
  • 1
    And note that if you use "storey", the plural is "storeys", not "stories". Jun 25, 2017 at 15:33
  • 1
    Another aside regarding "American-English": in the US, the ground floor and first floor are interchangeable, whereas in a lot of (maybe all?) other countries, you have the ground floor and then the first floor above it. See this thread: english.stackexchange.com/questions/238495/… Also a lot of buildings do not have a 13th floor en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_floor
    – Andy Ford
    Jan 20, 2021 at 23:09

5 Answers 5


The terms are different even though they can be interchangeably used a lot.

Floor is where you get off or live. Story is a measurement of height.

You would say:

  • I live on the 10th floor.
  • That building is 30 stories high.

You would not say:

  • I live on the 10th story.
  • That building is 30 floors high.

An example of this is that a lot of buildings do not have a 13th floor. So the person on the 14th floor would be 13 stories high. Also if you had a building with penthouses that were 4 stories high and you were on the 4th floor of the penthouse on the 20th floor of the building, you might be 83 stories high.

  • 1
    This is a good answer. I would just correct one little point. A 20 stories building that has one floor per story and that no floor "13" still has a 13th floor, just, its assigned name is the number "14".
    – cedbeu
    May 14, 2018 at 1:58

This is just the context I've heard the terms used in the UK. Stories is the total number of distinct above earth floors a building has. If you refer to an individual level it starts at the ground floor, then 1st floor, 2nd etc. In the US the UK ground floor is the 1st floor. I haven't heard a UK 1st floor referred to as the 2nd story.


In the context you are asking about, storey (UK etc.) and story (US) are both equivalent in meaning to floor. Floor is freely used alongside storey — I have no reason to believe that the use of either term is geographically restricted. (Incidentally, as a rule of thumb, one storey is about ten feet or three metres — see the relevant Wikipedia page for a more detailed discussion of the term.)

  • It gets complicated when you have a large building on two levels. So what is the ground floor on one side, is the first or second floor on the other. One that I visit from time to time has the most convoluted way of naming the 'floors'. But I am not suggesting 'storey' would help in any way.
    – WS2
    Oct 27, 2014 at 7:42
  • waywardEevee commented the question... Is it right ?
    – Bhavesh G
    Oct 28, 2014 at 13:40
  • 1
    @BhaveshGangani — I assume you're asking about the remark "I have never heard "I work on the 7th story" in my life." Clearly, waywardEevee is relating his/her own observation. For myself, I'd say that while "I work on the 7th story" would be less usual than "I work on the 7th floor", it is not incorrect; it is merely less idiomatic.
    – Erik Kowal
    Oct 28, 2014 at 19:32

I believe there is a slight difference. I believe a floor is a floor and a story is the occupied space above the floor. In many cases the difference between a floor and a roof is defined by the lack or presence of an occupied space above. Start with the simplest example with a floor at grade and a roof overhead. Most would consider this a single story structure without the need for a naming convention for the floor on grade. Add an elevated floor and you have a two story.


NOOOOO! There is a clear difference!

Take a building that has four levels, including the ground/earth level. It has four stories but three floors. This is because the ground floor does not count as a floor. The floor above is 1st floor, second floor, third floor + the ground floor = three floors, yet four stories.

  • Um... you just called the "ground floor" a floor... Clearly it is a floor. In the US, we number floors starting at the ground floor. Ground floor = first floor. I know this is not the case in England, as the floor above ground is the first floor but this question is specifically asking about the US usage.
    – Catija
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:27

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.