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When a student goes through a school door, he will see a big area. Then he will go into a narrower area with classrooms on each side.

According to my study,

American people say that big area "hall" or "entry" but British call it "hallway"

American people say that narrow area "hallway" but British call it "corridor".

That is what I studied from Oxford Dictionary

But ChatGPT says "

the word "hallway" means the same thing in both British and American English. It refers to a narrow passage or corridor that connects different rooms in a building.


Does "hallway" mean differently in British and American English?

  • 1
    I speak British English and for me a hallway is a narrow(ish) passage. A "hall" is usually a larger area, such as the entrance to the school you've pictured.
    – ralph.m
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 3:38
  • 1
    I speak American English and I agree with your description up above. I would call the small area a hallway or shorten it to just "hall" and the large area an entryway, lobby, or foyer (sometimes Americans say "foyer" in the French way but often just as "foy" (rhymes with "toy") - "air"). If it was in a modern school, I probably wouldn't call the large area with the front doors a "hall." I would use "hall" to talk about a large space in settings that are old, fancy, or mystical. So like the "great hall" in Harry Potter." Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 3:46
  • @FriendlyRacoon - Not necessarily 'old, fancy or mystical'. In Britain at least, schools normally have a large room in which the whole school can assemble together, known as 'the hall' (though not usually just inside the front door as in Tom's plan). But a hall way is something you walk along to get to somewhere else. Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 8:08
  • No. A hallway is a passageway leading to a hall or other rooms in UK Englsih, not a large room. As far as I am aware there is no differnce between UK and US usage here.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 9:39
  • Also for schools in the UK I think the most usual term for a hallway is probably just "corridor". Other large public buildings like theatres/hotels might have a wide entrance hall, sometimes called a "foyer", although I've never heard that term used for schools.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


In British English the hallway is but another name for corridor.

Collins Dictionary states that a hallway is a hall or a corridor whereas in American English, it is defined as “a passageway or room between the entrance and the interior of a building”; an alternative term for an entrance hall

The largest room in a British school is often a hall, it may have a stage where school awards, prize-giving ceremonies, concerts, shows and school plays are held. It may also be used for social events–after school hours–such as dancing, jumble sales, and for parents’ evenings (also called parent-teacher meeting).

The term hall has a much larger use:


3. COUNTABLE NOUN [oft noun NOUN] A2
A hall is a large room or building which is used for public events such as concerts, exhibitions, and meetings.
• Its 300 inhabitants will be celebrating with a dance in the village hall.
• We picked up our conference materials and filed into the lecture hall.
• His five-night residency at London's Royal Albert Hall was a tour-de-force.
Synonyms: meeting place, chamber, auditorium, concert hall, assembly room

Some grammar schools in the UK will have a main hall, a sports hall, and finally, a dining hall where students and staff eat lunch. Students who attend a boarding school full-time, will have all their meals there.

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The Main Hall hosts assemblies, plays, shows and talks. The Hall has a fully equipped stage and tiered seating. It has full sound and lighting equipment which provide great ambience and atmosphere during productions. (Stockport Grammar School)

When the hall is mostly empty–sometimes it is without a stage–it can be called the “assembly hall”

assembly hall

  1. a very large room used to hold public meetings, to stage shows, etc
  2. a very large room in a school that is used for regular meetings of students and staff
    Collins Dictionary

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