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In the dictionary,

the ground: the solid surface of the earth

If I hear someone say "she fell to the ground", I picture the situation like this:

woman fallen on her back onto grass

If an area of the ground is laid cement or tiles, is it still called "the ground"?

courtyard with an arrow pointing to a section of cement tiles, labeled "Is that called the ground?"

For example, "there are some tables and chairs on the ground"

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    Those tables and chairs are on a paved area or 'patio'. May 21, 2023 at 10:17
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    If a person falls on a cemented area, I would say that. I would not call it the ground. She fell on the cement and hurt her knee. However, the paper fell on the ground is ok for a cemented area. So, it all depends on who and what is falling or fell.
    – Lambie
    May 21, 2023 at 18:39
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    I wonder if it will be my friend....
    – James K
    May 21, 2023 at 19:50

2 Answers 2

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Yes, even if an area of the ground is covered with cement or tiles, like the area shown in your picture, it can still be referred to as "the ground". The term "the ground" generally refers to the solid surface of the earth, regardless of whether it is covered. So in your example sentence, it is still appropriate to say "there are some tables and chairs on the ground".

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    Indeed. And conversely, even a patch of dirt, if it's inside a walled structure, is "the floor" :) May 21, 2023 at 13:15
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    Yes - the ground refers to outdoors. May 21, 2023 at 14:03
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    @KateBunting - unfortunately, many British users call the outside surface the 'floor'. May 21, 2023 at 14:04
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    The paper fell to the ground or on the ground. But, I fell on the cement and hurt my knee. Context is everything. However: When the bank robber was shot, he fell to the ground (could be the sidewalk, a walkway, etc.) The dictionary definition does not work here nor do generalities.
    – Lambie
    May 21, 2023 at 18:41
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    @MarkMorganLloyd "floor" as an informal term for an outside surface seems to me not uncommon, but mainly in children/young adults - and stably so for decades based on my experience in London years ago and elsewhere since
    – Chris H
    May 22, 2023 at 8:26
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Yes, "the ground" includes areas covered in tiles, stone, concrete, etc. For example, if I were standing around those tables and chairs and dropped something, I would say it "fell on the ground".

Although, "There are some tables and chairs on the ground" sounds odd. I think it's because tables and chairs outdoors are naturally "on the ground", so the only time we would actually say that is when they've been knocked over. Instead, if you want to talk about their location, I would refer to the area they're in or on, like courtyard, patio, terrasse (which is a Quebec thing; terrace might work instead), or plaza. Or if you want to refer to their position, you could say something like, "There are some tables and chairs set up outside (in the courtyard)".


For illustration, check out Saturday Night Live's Threw It on the Ground (NSFW). "The ground" is used to refer to sidewalks (of different materials) and what looks like a paved backyard. The only exception is inside the restaurant, where it would be "the floor" instead of "the ground".

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  • You could say the furniture is on the grounds, which is similar in meaning to "on the premises" except usually implies an outdoor location. It's more typical to be more explicit about the exact location, however.
    – Miral
    May 22, 2023 at 1:24
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    @Miral completely different meaning IMO. As you say it means "the furniture is on the premises"
    – user253751
    May 22, 2023 at 14:17

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