# Thread: This is a/the second time...

1. Senior Member
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## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by 5jj
In the UK, the general expectation is that the sort of house most of us who live in houses live in has two floors.
I see. So if I changed a second floor to a third/fourth floor, the indefinite article would work well, right?

2. ## Re: This is a/the second time...

In a society where the norm is two floors, yes.

3. Senior Member
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## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by 5jj
In a society where the norm is two floors, yes.
And in societies with no norm at all, I guess.

4. ## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
I see. So if I changed a second floor to a third/fourth floor, the indefinite article would work well, right?
Yes, both a and the would work well.

Grammatically and logically, there's no difference between going to a second floor or to a third or fourth floor in your example.
Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 11-Apr-2021 at 19:49.

5. ## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by 5jj
In the UK, the general expectation is that the sort of house most of us who live in houses live in has two floors.
In my US neighborhood, single-family houses are one, two, or three floors and apartment houses are two, three, or four.

In the US, there's not a general expectation. You can live in a trailer, a house, a tenement, or a high-rise apartment building.

6. ## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
Can we apply this to my example?

"By the way, I'm building a house in Austin and finishing a second floor (this is new information to the listener + (s)he doesn't know how many floors I'm going to build).
Yes, you can use a or the.

7. ## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein
In the US, there's not a general expectation. You can live in a trailer, a house, a tenement, or a high-rise apartment building.
I think you misunderstood 5jj's point. He wasn't saying that there is a general expectation that people live in a house. He meant that if we describe our home specifically as a "house", most people understand that to be a building with at least two floors. As someone already said, a one-story house is a bungalow. A three-storey terraced house (one with an adjoining house on each side) is frequently called a town house.

8. Moderator
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## Re: This is a/the second time...

Originally Posted by emsr2d2
I think you misunderstood 5jj's point. He wasn't saying that there is a general expectation that people live in a house. He meant that if we describe our home specifically as a "house", most people understand that to be a building with at least two floors. As someone already said, a one-story house is a bungalow. A three-storey terraced house (one with an adjoining house on each side) is frequently called a town house.
That's not the case in American English. Any permanent, fully-detached, single-family living structure is a house in American English. Duplexes and triplexes, which respectively accommodate two and three families, are also houses to us. The latter are usually more than a single level but that doesn't affect what they're called.

9. ## Re: This is a/the second time...

I'm sure then that this is one of the few differences between American and Canadian usage. In Canada, whenever you tell someone your street address they almost always ask "Is that a house or an apartment?"

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## Re: This is a/the second time...

It took me quite a while after I moved to Canada to learn what semi-detached and detached houses were. (The former is what Americans call half of a duplex; the latter is what we call an ordinary house.)

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