The Wordfalls of Building

There a lot of different Kiwi words to Canadian ones.  But the difference between ‘car park’ and ‘parking spot’ doesn’tfalling word normally result in communication breakdowns.  It turns out that differences in house or building related words, when you’re building a house, do.  Not all.  Some are endearing: splash-back for back-splash.  Many are neutral: cladding for siding.  Some are confusing: bench for counter (or countertop or kitchen counter) but also for the thing you sit.  Some I recognize as inexplicably Canadian: eavestrough for rain gutter.  But it turns out the seemingly innocent word ‘cupboard’ is the one that is downright dangerous.  It means all manner of things: cabinet, closet, built-in closet, and even, occasionally, cupboard.  As for closets, they are strictly things you come out of.  You would never hang your clothes there.  Meanwhile in Canada, nobody keeps their clothes in a cupboard.  Luckily I got to the builders just before it was too late.

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