What do "M", "G" and "B" buttons mean in an elevator, besides "1", "2", ...? Confusing. Thanks.

  • 5
    Usually, Mezzanine, Ground, Basement
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 17:25
  • 3
    Honestly, only the person who installed the elevator knows for sure! @Jim is right, those are the most common. There is usually a star icon next to the street level, and stops are always in a consistent order. I've seen elevators with more than one "G": Ground and Garage!
    – Phil
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 17:32
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about standard English usage - it's just one possible set of context-specific one-word abbreviations that have almost no relevance to other contexts. Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 18:30
  • 7
    Those buttons have fairly standard meanings, at least here in the US. I think this is on-topic under the "Practical problems you encounter while learning English" section.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 19:58
  • 3
    I looked for "elevator buttons" on Google Images and found C, LL, UL, RF, G, M, B, LR, BR, MR, E, F, P, ST, ☆, ★, B through K, ↑, ↓, G1 and G2, LR, ☎, ▷|◁, ◁|▷, F|▷, F◁|, R|▷, R◁|, T, L1 and L2, 1R through 3R, and R1 through R8. I guess it would probably be off-topic if I asked what those all meant . . . :-)
    – user230
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 0:50

2 Answers 2


"G" is "Ground Floor". In some countries, the bottommost floor of a building is the ground floor, and the floor above that is the first floor. In the US, ground floor and first floor are used interchangeably, with the next floor up being the second floor.

"M" is "Mezzanine". This is sort of a "half floor" that doesn't extend across the entire span of the building and is therefore not numbered on its own.

"B" is "Basement", the floor below the ground. In buildings with multiple underground levels, the basements are numbered going downward, so the level closest to the ground level is the first basement "1B", the one below that is "2B", and so on.

As @choster points out in the comments, these aren't the only possibilities, depending on the location (metro station, parking garage, etc), but I believe they are the most typical meanings in most standard buildings.

  • 15
    Yes, but. There more than a few buildings in my area where M represents Main, which may also be L (for Lobby), and where the G levels (G1, G2, etc.) represent Garage rather than Ground. In one shopping center, M represents Metro, as there is an entrance to the Metro station. And then within the Metro station, the levels are S for Street, M for Mezzanine, and T for Trains (i.e. boarding platform). It all comes down to what the building management has requested and what the elevator company has installed.
    – choster
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 17:55
  • 1
    @Tim In a building like an office tower, shopping center, or hotel, there is usually a directory or guide to the floors; the elevator buttons would be more or less self-evident.
    – choster
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 18:38
  • 1
    @choster: you mean a directory or guide outside an elevator? Often times, I don't have time to watch that when I want to catch an elevator, and then I feel not easy to select the buttons.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 18:45
  • 2
    @choster Requiring an explanatory guide is the opposite of "self-evident".
    – nobody
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 19:14
  • 4
    Then there is also P, which stands for parking and which is usually used in place of B in my experience, or it can come under B. The main thing is to look for the star; I think this always represents the street level, no matter what letter comes next to it.
    – user6951
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:49

G is Ground. B is Basement. M is Mezzanine. Advanced: SB is Sub Basement. LL is Lower Level. L is Lobby. R is Roof. ★ and a level is Main Level. R is Roof. PH is Penthouse.

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