In the UK we say 'ground floor' and in the US they say 'first floor' for the lowest level in a building.

As I am fairly sure, no-one else in the world uses this terminology.

Does this make Britons wrong, or illogical?

I ask because while trying to explain to my European friend that the ground floor is on the ground, it came to me that our first floor would be the second [peice of flooring] that you would walk upon, thus making it the second floor.

I'm stumped.

EDIT: I feel like this question should be in civil engineering, not language, do say if I'm ok or not.


1 Answer 1



On your specific light-hearted question as to the "wrongness and illogicality" of the British usage, according to one of the resources in the answers to the linked duplicate/related questions, it appears to be a reasonable split with that terminology used across Europe, Australasia and India.


So, your premise here is incorrect; the usage is neither wrong or illogical, and is shared widely across the world. Qualification: The cited evidence for that passage 404s.

btw. Note that at the time of writing, the column headings in that table could be argued as biased towards a particular viewpoint: "Height relative to ground (storeys)" naturally inclines to the American usage of "floor".

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