A laminate floor is made by sticking many layers of planks together. Over the time, the glue may wear off and makes these layers break and split open. "The piece" may appear on the floor as shown in the picture.

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When your child is walking around, he or she may trip over "it". I don't know the term to express the "it", so I decided to say "the piece".

For example, "Be careful! You may trip over the piece".

Is it okay to say "the piece" when you don't know what it is called?

  • I would say "chipped off piece", good question though.
    – Cardinal
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 7:58
  • 1
    That is called linoleum. Linoleum is applied in sheets, strips or tiles. Also, linoleum is not in layers. Watch out for that piece of linoleum. Laminate flooring is irrelevant here.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 16:18

3 Answers 3


"It" is used to refer to a thing previously mentioned or easily identified.

For example, if you pointed at a loose piece of laminate and said "don't trip over it", you are identifying what "it" is. Similarly, if you said "there is a loose piece of laminate - don't trip over it", you have made it clear.

Saying "the piece" instead of "it" is no clearer unless you specify what "the piece" is. A piece of what? A piece of toast? If it's clear you are talking about the flooring, which piece do you mean?

Ultimately, you will have to identify it, so you might as well use "it", or say "don't trip over the loose flooring".

You'll notice I've called it "flooring" - this seems the shortest way to describe it. We also use "laminate" as a collective noun for an entire laminate flooring, ie "don't trip over the loose laminate".


Say "the thing". People would understand that you didn't know or couldn't think of the word.

You might call the thing in the picture a "flap" of loose flooring.

Wictionary give this definition for flap.

Anything broad and flexible that hangs loose, or that is attached by one side or end and is easily moved.

You would normally only talk about "a piece of" something. You would only say "a piece" on its own when the thing had already been mentioned, e.g.

Does anybody want cake?"
"Yes, I'll have a piece."

  • meta.stackexchange.com/a/301372/273494 Code formatting really sucks for people accessing the site on mobile or through screen readers. It doesn’t wrap, it doesn’t take other formatting, like bold or italics, it has a hard-to-read monospaced font on a background that reduces the contrast, etc. Blockquote formatting is preferred for text.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 15:36
  • Good to know, I've updated my answer. Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 16:18
  • Thanks, it’s something that happens a lot now that the block quote formatting doesn’t have a background color. (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/343919/…)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 16:23
  • Loose piece of linoleum

  • Loose strip of linoleum

  • Loose sheet of linoleum

  • Loose linoleum tile

If you don't know the word for linoleum, you can call it whatever you want.

  • Thingy
  • Tile [as linoleum is also made up of tiles]
  • Whatsit
  • Whatchamacallit
  • etc. etc. etc.

Parents have all sorts of ways of referring to objects with their children.

Linoleum is a covering material. Whatever the underfloor is made of is not relevant here.

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