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Tweet of the Week #164: University Entrance Exam Mixes American and British English

Students in Japan don't like having a fast-one pulled on them during entrance exams.

By 1 min read

Last weekend, third-year high school students took their stressful two-day standardized university entrance exams. These exams will decide whether they can enter their university of choice next spring.

However, some weren’t too pleased with the tricky English comprehension test. They needed to know the difference between British and American English when counting floors.

The National Center for University Entrance Examinations does warn all the test-takers that in addition to commonly taught American English, they may use British English in the test questions because they deem it essential that students understand the diversity of vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation used in international settings.

Too wicked


“To use British-English on the common test is too wicked”

US vs UK Floors







“For those who don’t know:

America is like Japan

1st floor -> 2nd floor ->

In England:

Ground floor -> 1st floor -> 2nd floor ->

In other words, the second floor for the US and Japan is the first floor in the UK.”

The Japanese counter for building floors

In Japanese, you combine numbers with a counter, a single-kanji character, to count things—people (人), cars (台), long and thin objects (本), flat and thin objects (枚) and so on. In total, the Japanese language has about 500 counters, but not all of them are commonly used. Let’s have a quick look at the counter for building floors: 階.

Note that 3階 can be read さんかい or さんがい. The latter being more frequent.

Floor numeral Japanese Romaji
1 一階いっかい ikkai
2 二階にかい nikai
3 三階さんがい sankai, sangai
4 四階よんかい yonkai
5 五階ごかい gokai
6 六階ろっかい rokkai
7 七階ななかい nanakai
8 八階はっかい hakkai
9 九階きゅうかい kyuukai
10 十階じゅうかい jyuukai


Japanese Romaji English
共通きょうつうテスト kyoutsuu tesuto Unified university entrance exams
イギリス英語えいご igirisu eigo British English
流石さすが sasuga ni As expected, naturally
鬼畜きちく kichiku Savage, brutal, wicked
ため tame ni For
おなじく onajiku Likewise
つまり tsumari In other words

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