Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Car Park vs Parking Lot

In British English (BrE), drivers park their cars in a car park — or what American English (AmE) speakers call a parking lot.

In Singapore English (SgE), both terms are used, but with an interesting difference: the building or area where cars are parked is a car park (as in BrE), but each parking space is a parking lot.

As the picture (Straits Times, 30 March 2009) above shows, there are three cars in three parking spaces — or, in SgE, three parking lots (hence the plural). Indeed, the caption reads:

Ladies-only lots at Furama Riverfront Hotel are conspicuously painted pink so as to set them aside from the usual lots. Out of the 278 lots there, seven are set aside for women. The lots are located near the entrance to the hotel lobby.

Contrast this with the caption in the example below, from Time magazine (13 April 2009):

Cars may be sitting on lots like this one in Michigan, but should sell as the GDP rises.

As Time is American, it uses AmE parking lot for BrE car park.

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