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On the 10th floor, the two men pulled out their guns and started shooting at each other.

On the third floor, the office workers could hear the gunfire upstairs.

  1. Can upstairs be used about a floor that is more than one floor above?

  2. Is upstairs the most natural word you could think of to use here?

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1 Answer 1

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Yes, "upstairs" is often used to describe a floor above the one you have previously mentioned, even in buildings with many floors.

I can't find fault with your example, yet it doesn't feel quite right because you state right at the beginning that the people are on the third floor. As you must have already stated that the gunfire is occurring on the 10th floor, to then add "upstairs" at the end of the sentence is something of a redundancy.

As an alternative, you could say:

The office workers on the third floor could hear the gunfire from upstairs.

or

Office workers said the gunfire could be heard from as far away as the third floor.

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  • dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/upstairs: It shows the meaning also as "the highest floor or floors of a building: Sadly, the upstairs of the house was gutted by fire. There were shouts from upstairs. Hence, I feel it should be OK, the way OP has exemplified.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 0:50
  • @RamPillai In practical use, we don't say that about a high-rise building, just houses with multiple floors.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 7:11
  • Yeah, possible. I myself was not sure; then upon a search I got it.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 11:46

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