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Since I was unable to read for a month or more, I spent a lot of time watching a blurry TV, listening to folks talk.

I noticed an unusual juxtapositioning of words on a couple of occasions. During testimony in a courtroom trial, the jury was played a 911 call. The caller asked for assistance for the victim who was "lying on the floor." But in actuality, the victim was outside on the ground. Later the same day, I saw a news story in which a SWAT team battered down a door and, entering the house, yelled for everyone to "get down on the ground," even though they were indoors.

If the terms floor and ground were only mixed up this one time, I wouldn't mention it, but after that I heard the same misuse at least two other times. Am I hearing things or has anyone else ever noticed this misuse?
 
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Great to see you back Proof!

I've not heard anyone mixing the two terms, but then I don't get out much. Most people are floored when they learn I'm not well-grounded.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I hadn't noticed it, either, 'til I heard the mix-up several times within a week. Calling the ground outside "the floor" seems to be a Southern, perhaps Latino, thing.
 
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It gets confusing when you want to tell a Spanish speaker not to urinate on the floor. No piss en el piso sounds silly. Hmmm... El Piso is a Texas town, isn't it? Confused Yeah, that's it! It's the one Marty Robbins sang about! http://www.last.fm/music/Marty+Robbins/_/El+Paso


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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It is great to see you again, Proof! Smile

I would never call the outside ground the "floor." However, I suppose I might call the floor the "ground" sometimes.
 
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I've heard them used interchangeably as well. The area of a forest under the trees is known as the "forest floor", though.

The Word Detective has an article.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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In the USA we commonly mix the terms in reference to the first level of a multi-story building, calling it the ground floor.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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There's the ocean floor, and I've seen buildings with packed earthen floors. I haven't heard too many people confusing floor with ground.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I've often wondered how you can stand on a ground floor. One would think it should be more substantial.
 
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Proof, the late Asa Lovejoy lived in a dwelling that had a peat bog as its "ground" floor. Nice and soft when he fell on it, but then it caught fire... Roll Eyes


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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We all hope there isn't a re-peat.
 
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Maybe Peater Bogdonovitch will make a movie about the life and odd times of the late Asa Lovejoy..


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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quote:
The area of a forest under the trees is known as the "forest floor", though.
Yes, and as z said, there's the ocean floor too. I hadn't thought about Word Detective in awhile, arnie. Thanks for that link. Is he still going?
 
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Kalleh, you're baaaaaack! Are you in Oregon or Illinois?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Here's a Huffington Post article about a tennis player's collapse.
Under the last picture, the article reads how she fell "to the ground" and a little further down her opponent makes the comment about seeing her "on the floor." Which is it? (Link)
 
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It seems to not make a difference, does it?

That's how our entire summer has been..."steamy."
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Geoff:
It gets confusing when you want to tell a Spanish speaker not to urinate on the floor. No piss en el piso sounds silly. Hmmm... El Piso is a Texas town, isn't it? Confused Yeah, that's it! It's the one Marty Robbins sang about! http://www.last.fm/music/Marty+Robbins/_/El+Paso

Leave us not forget Kinky Friedman's marvy song, "I'm Just an A**hole from El Paso". I like both tunes.
 
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Not necessarily germane but--Why is in some locales the "ground floor" and the "1st floor" are the same whereas in others, you look up from the ground floor to see the 1st floor?
And BTW what is called when a noun modifies another noun, as in "ground floor"?
 
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Why is in some locales the "ground floor" and the "1st floor" are the same whereas in others, you look up from the ground floor to see the 1st floor?
And BTW what is called when a noun modifies another noun, as in "ground floor"?

I've always understood that it was a difference between the USA and the rest of the world. In the US it's called the first floor, but it's the ground floor elsewhere. Why, I've no idea.

I've seen them called nouns in apposition, or adjectival nouns. I'm not a linguist, though, but one of the others will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I don't think it's apposition, arnie. Thats when you say something like "Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said today..." or "The car, the Ford Capri sped off down the road."

I think it is anyway.

The term I'm familiar with for a noun modifying another noun is "attributive noun".


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Why is in some locales the "ground floor" and the "1st floor" are the same whereas in others, you look up from the ground floor to see the 1st floor?

Probably because some people start counting with zero while others start with one.

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by zmježd:
Why is in some locales the "ground floor" and the "1st floor" are the same whereas in others, you look up from the ground floor to see the 1st floor?

Probably because some people start counting with zero[;i] while others start with [i]one.


I'm not convinced by that though. In England the street level floor is always ground and he next one up is first. And no one that I've ever heard starts counting at zero.

I've often wondered about the historic basis of this distinction between US/UK usage as the US seems to make rather more sense.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Why is it that, when we once lived at the apex of an apartment house, we said we were on "the top floor", but my rich uncle (who lived in a similar arrangement) was in "the penthuse"?
 
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Thinking about it a little more:

Why do we watch TV in the living room while he watches in his "media room"?

We entertain in the parlor but he greets everyone in his "great room."

We sit on the porch and look out at the back yard but he has a veranda overlooking his "lanai" (even though he doesn't live anywhere near Hawaii).

We keep stuff in the attic but that's his "bonus room."
 
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In England the street level floor is always ground and he next one up is first. And no one that I've ever heard starts counting at zero.

I was not being serious. It was a nerdish joke. (See off-by-one error in the Jargon File (link).)


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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But surely for a proper nerd the floors should be numbered
0
1
10
11
100
101
110
111

etc.

I would like to know why the practice of G123 in Britain developed when the practice of 1234 developed in the US. I think it's an interesting question.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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But surely for a proper nerd the floors should be numbered

You know there are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who know binary and those you don't.

I would like to know why the practice of G123 in Britain developed when the practice of 1234 developed in the US. I think it's an interesting question.

No doubt an interesting question. No doubt it will not be answered here.

Things to consider. The origin of numbering floors. The origin of the term ground floor. (It is used in US English, too, as a synonym for first floor. Cf. the idiom "to be let in on the ground floor", which the OED labels as US in origin and has a first citation of 1864.

For what it's worth, it's not strictly a US against the world convention. There are other countries that use the US convention. Also, I have seen ground/first floor's labelled zero on elevator buttons. and levels below ground level labelled with minus sign plus digit designations.

I wish you good luck on your investigation and look forward to any information you may choose to share with us.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I frequently see lifts labeled "LL-1 and LL-2" for below-ground floors. That system seems clear enough to me.

How are levels labeled in deep mines?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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There are only two lifts in the main building of my college. Bizarrely one of them has the ground floor button labelled 6 and the other has the ground floor button labelled 7.

For the record the building has four storeys.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Bob, have the lift maintenance people taken drug tests lately? Roll Eyes


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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There are only two lifts in the main building of my college. Bizarrely one of them has the ground floor button labelled 6 and the other has the ground floor button labelled 7.

For the record the building has four storeys.

I'd ask for a rebate on my tuition.
 
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If you're a dance major you pay twice (tutuition)


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In the US it's called the first floor, but it's the ground floor elsewhere. Why, I've no idea.
Because I travel a fair amount for my job, I stay in a lot of hotels. I can't say that we always call the ground floor the first floor. I've seen many situations where the ground floor has been called that, but others where it has been the first floor.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
quote:
In the US it's called the first floor, but it's the ground floor elsewhere. Why, I've no idea.
Because I travel a fair amount for my job, I stay in a lot of hotels. I can't say that we always call the ground floor the first floor. I've seen many situations where the ground floor has been called that, but others where it has been the first floor.


But what has the next floor been called in the hotels where the street level was called "ground"? I'll bet it was still second. Here it's first.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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"First floor" makes sense if one considers it the first escalation.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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In my experience, it's always been top floor, intermediate floors (5,4,3,2), first floor, basement (or cellar), and dungeon.
 
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