3

What is the better way to ask person which floor is he living in / on?

  1. Which floor are living in?

  2. Which floor are living on?

  3. In which floor are living in?

  4. In which floor are living on?

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    I think you mean "floor", perhaps? – Damkerng T. Sep 18 '15 at 17:23
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    @DamkerngT. - unless it's a sentence about worms speaking to each other, I guess you're right. If it's about worms, it might be better to say "which sack of flour". – CowperKettle Sep 18 '15 at 17:29
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    One does not live on bread alone. lol. – shin Sep 18 '15 at 17:48
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    No need to repeat a preposition. Strand it at the end, or pied-pipe it to the beginning. Don't do both. – John Lawler Sep 18 '15 at 18:44
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    I wouldn't say in, unless I was talking to a termite. – user24407 Sep 19 '15 at 9:18
10

If my friend lived on a college campus like this one:

enter image description here

then I would ask:

  • Which building do you live in?
  • Which floor do you live on?
  • Which room do you live in?

If the university had more than one campus (say, an east campus and a west campus), then I might begin with:

  • Which campus do you live on?
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  • 1
    Why "Which campus do you live on?" and no "Which campus do you live in?" ? – jGupta Sep 19 '15 at 11:59
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    @AmitSingh - Assuming the two campuses are geographically seperated, I would use live on for last question (AmE speaker). It's odd, though, isn't it? I would ask, "Which town do you live in?" but, "Which campus do you live on?" I don't know why, but that's just the way it seems to be. – J.R. Sep 19 '15 at 12:03
  • It is ODD. But seems like we have to live with it. – jGupta Sep 19 '15 at 12:25
  • @AmitSingh Floors are always under you; you're not contained by them. A room or building surrounds you. You stand ON top of the floor, but IN a room (or cell, or box). A campus is a piece of land, which again is usually under your feet (ignoring tunnels and basements) so again you're on the campus. – Andy Sep 19 '15 at 13:35
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    @AmitSingh Nobody said English was consistent, but in general what I said holds. Just like living on a street doesn't mean you actually live ON the street, it means adjacent. – Andy Sep 19 '15 at 13:49
8

I think because "a floor" is [originally] a surface, you can't live "in" it, only "on" it.

Same goes to "level", for instance. A "level" is [originally] a measure, the distance from the base point or plane. Since a representation of such a measure would be another plane or a sphere (if measured from a point), in other word a surface, it has no thickness, and only allows being "on" it, not "in" it for such three-dimensional beings like humans.

So,

Which floor do you live on? (or)
On which floor do you live? (so not to end on a preposition)

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    Your logic is sound, but we need to be careful trying to make these prepositions seem so straightforward. They're not. For example, you can live "on Elm Street" – but that doesn't mean you live on the surface of the street. Also, you might live in a house that's "on the water," even though that really means "on a parcel of land within view of the water." One more: You could live "on the Polish-Ukrainian border," but that would probably mean you live along the border, not physically on it, with the east side of your apartment in the Ukraine, and the west side of your apartment in Poland. – J.R. Sep 18 '15 at 18:16
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    Right. Everything is relative. One lives on the border, when the distance between his house and the border is small enough compared to the rest of the population's. – Victor Bazarov Sep 18 '15 at 18:24
3

I think the correct one would be..

On which floor are you living ? Which floor do you live on ?

There is no need to use in/or twice in the same sentence. On is used more often when talking about living on floors.

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2

In the context of asking someone which floor they live on:
"Which floor are you living on?" or "Which floor do you live on?"

More natural:
"Which floor are you on?"

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-1

I would say, "What floor do you live on?" is more casual. "On what floor do you live on?" works, but it sounds a bit "off".

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  • 8
    "On what floor do you live?" - Overly formal, but correct. "On what floor do you live on?" - wrong. – peterG Sep 19 '15 at 1:34
  • It sounds off because the two instances of 'on' are redundant. – MrWonderful Oct 9 '15 at 21:36

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