"ground" vs. "floor"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Oct 8 18:14:52 UTC 2014

This morning I noticed something when I opened my garage door, and 
said to myself "Somebody's gotten into the garage, knocked over a 
trash barrel, and spilled birdseed on the ground."  (Not aloud; I was 
alone.)  In this context "floor" would have sounded odd to me.  If a 
spill had occurred inside my house, I would have said "floor".  I 
suppose that my garage's concrete "floor" does not have the artisanal 
quality of a "floor".

However -- I would say "The garage floor now needs sweeping."  Here 
"ground" would sound odd.  One doesn't sweep "ground", unless one is 
the Monk.

P.S.  I have personified raccoons ever since the summer of 2013, when 
one raised her infants in my attic; and revisited last summer, but 
only to reside temporarily in a hole in a nearby tree with this year's brood.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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