There are tons of words that have more than one spelling, depending on the language community they belong to. One example is the confusion between storey vs. story.
Discover the difference between storey and story, what they mean, and how to use them in a sentence. I’ll also answer the plural form of storey and whether to use storys or stories.
Is it Story or Storey?
Both story and storey are correct. Story is the American spelling for a building’s horizontal level with more than one floor, while storey is the British preferred spelling with the same definition. Story can also mean a narrative or series of events.
Is it Two-Storey House or Two-Story House?
Both phrases are correct. Use two-storey house if you’re writing to a British audience and use two-story house when writing to an American audience.
Some people also wonder whether you should say two-story house or two-storied house. The grammatical rules are:
- Add -ed for compound adjectives made of nouns referring to parts of the body. For example: one-eyed.
- Do not use -ed for compound adjectives made of a unit of measurements. For example: two-meter wall.
- When specifying an object other than a body part, you may use -ed or not. For example: two-story house, two-storied house.
When to Use Story
Story is more often used to refer to a tale or narrative–for example:
- Tell me the story about the guy from your hometown.
- A breaking news story.
- Rapunzel was her favorite bedtime story as a child.
The word may also refer to a horizontal level of a home or building. This word is the American spelling variant–for example:
- My phone fell from the third-story balcony.
- That’s a 10 story building with a large ground floor.
- Look at the 40th story window in the tallest building.
- The fourth story of the building is where you’ll find the game room.
- The ground-level floor doesn’t count as a story.
Storys or Stories
The plural form of story is stories. The spelling rule is to change y to i, then add –es.
Using Story in a Sentence
The building will stand four stories tall along Franklin Street. [Chapel Hill News]
An eight-story retail space would adjoin the East Tower, and a below-ground, four-story parking garage would offer 850 parking spots. [Boston Globe]
When to Use Storey
Use storey as a British spelling for the story as a level of a building or home. But it’s not a British spelling for the word that refers to a tale or narrative. That means you can say my phone fell from the third-storey balcony, but not Rapunzel was her favorite storey as a child.
According to statistics on story and storey, storey is also less used than story when followed by the word building.
Is There a Plural for Storey?
Yes, and it’s storeys. Only use this word if you’re using it as a noun. Therefore, you cannot say two-storeys house because storey here is part of a compound adjective.
Using Storey in a Sentence
The announcement of the seven-storey, 48-unit building was made Tuesday morning at the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre. [Winnipeg Sun]
The next plan for the area, a proposed 50-storey skyscraper called the Shanghai Tower, simply fills her with dread. [The Guardian]
Firefighters were called to the two-storey brick and concrete house, on State Highway 23 at Whatawhata, just before 1pm. [Stuff.co.nz]
How to Remember the Difference
It’s easy to remember the difference between story and storey. Most of the time, you don’t need a trick to recall that storey is British and story is American.
But if you’re still confused, remember that storey is the British spelling because it has the letter e. And England starts with an e.
If you’re talking about the sequence of events, choose the shorter word: story.
Summary of Storey vs. Story
Now you know that both story and storey are correct spellings for a level of the building. The former is prevalent in American English, and the latter is common in British English. But story has an additional definition, which is a series of events.
You’re also aware of which spelling to use between storys or stories. Do you have more spelling and grammar-related concerns when it comes to spelling differences? Check out our breakdown of lionize vs lionise or roommate vs room mate vs room-mate to help your writing!