I found sentences using "floor" as if it is an uncountable noun and it seems as popular as usage as countable noun.

Google Search result of bbc "the ground and first floors" site:uk

Google Search result of bbc "the ground and first floor" site:uk

As far as I checked using dictionaries etc, the noun "floor" is a countable noun; therefore, I wonder if you actually use the word as uncountable noun, or if there are some other explanations.

Or do you say/write "the ground and first floors" or "the ground and first floor"?

  • 6
    Many countable nouns can be used as uncountable in some contexts. If you don't believe this you may end up with egg on your face.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 9, 2016 at 21:32
  • Many of your google hits seem to mean "ground- and first-floor".
    – deadrat
    Dec 9, 2016 at 21:59
  • In American English the first sentence reads as the ground floor and first floor as separate floors. In an elevator there would be a button for each. In the second sentence, the two floors could be interpreted as the same. In an elevator there would be one button for the first floor which happens to be at ground level. I know other countries do not count floors the same way. So In the US, the first sentence would be an unusual arrangement, but in France the second would be the odd one.
    – Val
    Dec 9, 2016 at 22:04
  • 'Many countable nouns can be used as uncountable in some contexts.' would seem to argue that usages rather than nouns should be considered count or otherwise. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:27
  • 2
    '... between the ground and first floor' is probably best interpreted as a deletion of '... between the ground floor and the first floor'. Whether or not this is acceptable is another matter. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


The ground and first floor of the property were damaged by the fire

Note: it might help you if you consider the word floor to be elided or left out of the sentence after ground. Saying floor twice is not necessary.

You can rewrite the sentence as

The ground floor and first floor of the property were damaged by the fire

Floor in both sentences is a singular count noun. Hopefully you know that count nouns can be either singular or plural. This is one reason they are called count nouns. You can count them. As in

How many floors (levels/stories) does that house have?

It has two floors (levels/stories), the ground (floor) and first floor.


I have two hands, my left (hand) and my right hand.

I can elide or omit the first use of hand here. Saying it twice is not necessary.

In another article, the count noun floor is used in the plural:

Firefighters were called to the Llandeilo blaze at about 03:00 GMT on Thursday, with the ground and first floors of the property damaged.

So the answer to your last question is that you can say either "the ground and first floors" or "the ground and first floor". And you can say either" the ground and fifteenth floors" or "the ground and fifteenth floor".

In England, you walk into the ground floor and walk up one floor to get to the first floor. In the US, you walk into the first floor. (Exceptions can include when a building is built on a hill and on the higher side of the hill you walk into a floor higher than normal.)

  • 1
    This does not explain why the singular floor is acceptable here. If it actually is. You wouldn't say 'the front and the back door were both damaged'. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:33
  • @Peter The new improved example? There is a strange effect here, with 'notional unity' (or is it really acceptability of deleted form?) (or are they the same thing?) unpredictable. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:39
  • 2
    @Edwin: Google finds 12 hits for "the front and the back doors," and 6 for "the front and the back door." You may not find this expression acceptable, but it seems a reasonable number of other people do. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:42
  • @Edwin I was editing as you commented. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:43
  • @Peter Try Ngrams again. Dec 9, 2016 at 22:43

The plural form floors has been in use since at least three centuries, about as much as today considering the invention of skyscrapers:


People don't normally say "that's my window 12 floor up". It's certainly said as plural:

I am renovating both floors.

Also you can say for example if "Both floors have collapsed", "I need both floors fixed up"

Stephen Fry said that the charm and useful effect of a language is not in its rigorous usage and rules, it's in its eccentric and inventive and nonsensical use, and in the playful use of the official language, wantonly disrespecting it's rules. That is, books with bad and silly English can have far more literary merit than books with good English. In that sense, a rule on the plural of floor would be a silly rule, and it is said as is useful to common people, without constraints.

  • I live 12 floors up, i live on the 12th floor, are both correct ways of saying hte same thing. Dec 14, 2016 at 10:20

Context is crucial in this case. If I were a member of a 10-member cleaning crew who were tasked with the first floor of a building containing 50 offices, and a second floor containing just one office, then each "floor" has a different "count." The first floor would have 50 floors to clean, and the second floor would have "just" the one floor.

While the square footage of each of the floors is identical (1st floor and 2nd floor), the number of floors that need to be cleaned would be 51. :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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