Something that I noticed is that Canadians often use "Grade X", while Americans prefer "Xth grade". For example, Canadians would use "Grade 9" rather than "9th grade," while Americans use "9th grade" rather than "grade 9." (Source)

Although Canadians aren't the only ones to use "Grade x", they use it an overwhelming 97% of the time, which is higher than all other countries afaik (Source). As a result, a rule of thumb is that when I hear "grade x" in certain grammatical contexts, I can assume the speaker is Canadian and the assumption is usually true.

I tried to find some documentation on this phenomenon, but I found nothing. What might be the origin of this regional distinction?

  • In my experience as a student in Australia, the grades in primary school were usually called "1st grade" through to."6th grade", but for some reason in high school the grades were called "year 7" through to "year 12". But when my daughter went to primary school they tended to call it "grade 1", etc. - when talking about her cohort I would say "the first graders" but the teacher would say "the grade ones".
    – nnnnnn
    Aug 22 '20 at 7:49

There may very well be dialect differences at play.

I've found that in the US, both terms are used regularly, though I think "xth grade" is the more frequent. Especially in informal speech, such as what you might expect when asking a child "what grade are you in?" The answer will almost invariably be a variation on "5th grade!" The other, I think, might be more likely found in a more formal (likely written) register: "The new Snooze and Blattmann series of Vosnian language text books, suitable for grades 10 through 12, should be available before the school year starts."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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