I have done some study and it seems that British people are fine with these sentences as they use "storey/story" and "floor" interchangebly:

"The office building has 5 stories",

"The office building has 5 floors",

"It's a 5-story building",

"It's 5-floor building",

"My office is on the 5th floor" and

"My office is on the 5th story"

However, American people seems to use "story" to describe the level of a building and use "floor" to describe something is there.

So American people will say

"The office building has 5 stories",

"It's a 5-story building", and

"My office is on the 5th floor"

But they won't say

"The office building has 5 floors",

"It's 5-floor building", and

"My office is on the 5th story".

And Oxford dictionary (A British dictionary) says

storey / floor

You use storey (British English)/story (US English) mainly when you are talking about the number of levels a building has:

a five-storey house

The office building is five storeys high.

Floor is used mainly to talk about which particular level in the building someone lives on, goes to, etc:

His office is on the fifth floor.

So, I think some British people use storey / floor separately like the dictionary says but some British use them interchangeably.

  • 4
    Your research is incorrect. (Americans certainly say "the office building has 5 floors", for example.) Can you please explain how you arrived at your conclusions? Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 2:03
  • @MarcInManhattan I asked the same question on Quora and an American person said that. So, some American might use "story and floor" interchangeably
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 2:15
  • 2
    Dear Tom, the people on Quora range from ignorant fools to people with much knowledge. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 9:03
  • 1
    Note: in Britain, if a building has more than one storey (it has multiple storeys) the ground level floor is called the ground floor, and the one above that is the first floor. In America, the first floor is on the ground level. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 9:05
  • 1
    I am American, and I feel like either floor or story is acceptable in "The building has five ____", but in "This is a five-____ building", I would only ever say story.
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


I can confirm that British English speakers use the word 'floor' more often than the word 'storey', but it is certainly known to us and is used. We are more likely to refer to a building with many levels as a "multi-storey building", but still refer to each individual level as a 'floor'.

To the best of my knowledge, American English is much the same. The first thing that came to my mind is the song 'Luka' by American singer Suzanne Vega (My name is Luka / I live on the second floor).

Note that British English speakers refer to the bottom floor of any multi-storey building as the ground floor, and the next level up is the first floor. This means that in a 5-storey building in the UK, there is technically no 5th floor. From Wikipedia:

"in all English-speaking countries, the storeys in a building are counted in the same way: a "seven-storey building" is unambiguous, although the top floor would be called "6th floor" in Britain and "7th floor" in America."

  • Anecdotally, I agree from the American perspective. "I live on the 5th floor" sounds more natural than "I live on the 5th story", though we'd know what you meant (we also, of course, drop the extra vowel, presumably to infuriate the British. Colour -> color, storey -> story). And "5 story building" sounds better than "5 floor building". But to my best recollection, our ground floor is always the same as the 1st floor.
    – JamieB
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 15:18
  • I live in a condo in the states, and we have ground-floor apartments. I really don't know where these myths start.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 16 at 23:55

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