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Story vs. Storey

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips

One of the many differences between American and British English is the spelling of certain words. Words that mean the same thing are sometimes spelled differently in each language community, for a variety of historical and linguistic reasons. Reasons aside, multiple spellings for the same word do not make life easy for writers. Much has been written about spelling differences between these two language communities, but in this article, we will focus on two words: story and storey.


Story originated from late Middle English: shortening of Latin historia ‘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 a historical subject).

Story as noun:

Story is used as a noun in English language which means an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

An adventure story.

A piece of gossip; a rumour is also called a story.

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

A report of an item of news in a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast is also known as story.

Stories in the local papers,

Story also means an account of past events in someone's life or in the development of something.

The story of modern farming.

The commercial prospects or circumstances of a particular company is also known as a story.

The investors' flight to profitable businesses with solid stories.

Use of story:

Story are the most acceptable and the preferred spellings in American English and if your preferred audience are American people you should use these spellings of story.


In the weeks leading up to the election, visitors at Trump Tower were subjected to bag checks and other screening but otherwise had free access to a five-story atrium that has shops and restaurants, including Trump Grill and a Starbucks. (US News and World Report)

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]

Use of Storey:

Storey is an alternate spelling of the same word. It only has one sense, though. It is the preferred spelling in British English associated with the meaning a level or floor of a building. If your audience are British, you better use storey with an e.


A 62-storey skyscraper – on the site of a previously planned building known as the Pinnacle or “Helter Skelter” – is to grace London’s skyline despite the uncertainty caused in the commercial property market by the vote for Brexit. (The Guardian)

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]

Storey or story:

Is it story or storey? These spellings refer to the same thing, but they are used in different regions of the English speaking world. Story is the American English word for a level of a building. Storey is the British spelling of the same word. The British began spelling storey as such in roughly the 1940s. It is not difficult to remember when to use each of these words. In American English, story refers to a floor in a building. In British English, the word is spelled storey. Since storey and England both contain the letter E, it is simple to keep this usage straight in your head. If you are referring to a tale of events, you must choose story. Storey is not used in this way.

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