story. storey

In a recent blog post, Daniel Pipes refers to a “seven-storey building.”

I've always spelled the word as "story," but Dr. Pipes tells me that he thinks “both are fine.” Merriam-Webster's dictionary lists "storey" as a variant of "story."

Still, I was skeptical, so I e-mailed Merriam-Webster, asking if "storey" is more common in certain parts of the world than others (as is "judgement," which prevails in Britain, vs. "judgment," its American cousin).

Paul Wood responded within hours:

A Nexus search for English-language periodicals and news stories from around the world indicates that "storey" takes a pretty distant second as a variant to "story" in American English, but that the preference seems to be pretty strongly in favor of "storey" in much of the rest of the English-speaking world.

Canadian periodicals and news sources demonstrate the most balanced preference between the two variants, with "storey" being the somewhat more preferred of the two. The British Isles, Australia and New Zealand sources all demonstrate a fairly strong preference for "storey."

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