Word Confusion: Storey versus Story

Posted February 5, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

One of those odd differences between the British and the Americans. It’s what keeps the language such fun. It’s curious that storey is strictly restricted to describing the entire floor of any building, and doesn’t spill over into the tales of the American story.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Storey versus Story” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

Return to top

Storey Story
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

An old, faded picture of two three-storey buildings from between 1865 and 1885

“Women and Children” by Rand & Bird — Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Women and children in front of two three-storey buildings which means there are three storeys in each building.

A cover for Grimm's Fairy Tales

“The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales” is courtesy of Goodreads

A fairy tale is one example of a story.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1
Plural: storeys
Chiefly British
Variant spelling
Noun 1, 2
Plural: stories
Part of a building comprising all the rooms that are on the same level Noun:Part of a building comprising all the rooms that are on the same level 1

An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment 2

  • Plot or story line
  • Report of an item of news in a newspaper, magazine, or news broadcast
  • Piece of gossip; a rumor
  • [Informal] A false statement or explanation; a lie

An account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something

  • A particular person’s representation of the facts of a matter, especially as given in self-defense
  • [Singular] A situation viewed in terms of the information known about it or its similarity to another
a three-storey building

This flat takes up the entire storey.

Noun:It was a three-story building. 1

I love a good adventure story. 2

I’m going to tell you a story.

The novel has a good story.

There have been lots of stories going around, as you can imagine.

Ellie never told stories—she had always believed in the truth.

the story of modern farming

The film is based on a true story.

During police interviews, Harper changed his story.

Having such information is useful, but it is not the whole story.

Many children with leukemia now survive—twenty years ago it was a very different story.

History of the Word:
1 Late Middle English

Shortening of Latin historia meaning history, story.

A special use in Anglo-Latin, perhaps originally denoting a tier of painted windows or sculptures on the front of a building representing an historical subject.

2 In Middle English, story denotes an historical account or representation.

Shortening of Anglo-Norman French estorie, which is from the Latin historia.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Return to top

Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Leeds Castle in Kent UK” is Misterzee’s own work and is under the CC BY 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.