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anniewalker
02-17-2006, 01:09 AM
Hi, I'm a Brit writing a piece for a mainly US audience. I just got stuck with "patio doors".

Do Americans call them that? It doesn't sound right.

Just in case...they're the glass, usually double doors that lead out into the garden! Sometimes also called French doors over here too.

Thanks for any advice.

Cathy C
02-17-2006, 01:18 AM
Well, it sort of depends over here. If the patio door is the ONLY door exiting the rear of the house, then it's the "back door". If there's already a back door and there's ALSO a door that leads onto the patio, then it's the patio door. French doors are a style of door, but they're not called that unless you're discussing the construction or a remodel or something.


Hope that helps! :)

TheIT
02-17-2006, 01:24 AM
Yes, patio doors is recognizable. What I think of are the big sliding glass doors leading onto a patio or balcony. Usually they have a screen door, too, so you can keep the glass open but still let in a breeze without bugs. If you're talking about wooden doors with glass panes which swing open rather than slide, then I think French doors is the more appropriate term.

One of the members of my writing group is a man from Ireland. He asked before reading one of his pieces whether we all recognized the word "collander" (strainer). We all said yes, and he read his story. All of us recognized collander, but not one of us understood A and E (Accident and Emergency?). In the US that'd be the emergency room at a hospital. So the word he thought would trip us up didn't, and the word he thought we'd all recognize was foreign. :D

Welcome to the forums!

anniewalker
02-17-2006, 01:29 AM
OK, that's great, thank you.

Funny story there TheIT. Yes, you're right, it does mean Accident and Emergency dept, but we'd rarely call it that, it's always known as A and E :)

Maryn
02-17-2006, 02:47 AM
Depending on where in the US you're setting your work, the term "slider' may be apt for the sliding patio doors. Where we live (western New York), that's more common than "patio door"--and like someone mentioned, local "French doors" do not slide but open like a conventional door. Here a French door consists of many panes rather than a single sheet of glass.

Boy, it gets complicated sometimes!

pdr
02-17-2006, 03:46 AM
I've heard of ranch sliders, patio doors, but never French doors. It's French windows where I was in the UK and in NZ.

alleycat
02-17-2006, 04:20 AM
I have French doors; almost everyone refers to them as patio doors. I do.

ac

reph
02-17-2006, 05:45 AM
In California, "patio doors" is likely to mean sliding glass doors. These don't have small panes. A regular door (wooden) that opens onto a patio doesn't have a special name. Depending on its location relative to the rest of the house, it'd be called the back door or the side door.

Sage
02-17-2006, 05:48 AM
In California, "patio doors" is likely to mean sliding glass doors. These don't have small panes. A regular door (wooden) that opens onto a patio doesn't have a special name. Depending on its location relative to the rest of the house, it'd be called the back door or the side door.That's what I pictured too, reph (I'm from San Diego). We also called it the sliding glass door. Then there's the screen door right outside the sliding glass door, which also slides.

poetinahat
02-17-2006, 06:07 AM
I'm with Maryn -- we've had French doors in the US and in Oz, and they've been paned glass doors that open out, not slide.

But if I read 'patio door', I'd know what you meant.

reph
02-17-2006, 06:14 AM
Annie, for the purpose of what you're writing, what's important: the design of the doors or the fact that they give access to a patio? If it's only the latter, "patio doors" will work although Americans will visualize something different than you do.

pdr
02-17-2006, 08:53 AM
Tell me, please about French doors.

French windows are found in the rooms facing the sun. They are wooden framed, usually have four or six glass panes divided by wood, in the top half and sometimes in the bottom half as well although I have seen them with decorative wooden panels in the bottom half. They are always double, opening out together onto a verandah, terrace or patio. They look more like windows than doors. The handles are usually discreetly placed. They are not used as the main entrance doors to a house.

Are we talking about the same thing?

reph
02-17-2006, 09:34 AM
pdr, a Google image search is good for finding out what something looks like.

http://images.google.com/images?q=french+doors&ie=ISO-8859-1&hl=en

Scribhneoir
02-17-2006, 09:38 AM
French windows are found in the rooms facing the sun. They are wooden framed, usually have four or six glass panes divided by wood, in the top half and sometimes in the bottom half as well although I have seen them with decorative wooden panels in the bottom half.

French doors are full doors; that is, they don't have a separate top half and bottom half. (They do have glass -- usually eight panes -- from top to bottom.) Here in the US, a door that is separated in half in the way you describe is called a Dutch door. That's one where you can open the top half while leaving the bottom half closed.

It's interesting that in the UK they're called French windows. That explains a lot. I've always wondered why characters in Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse novels have such a propensity for entering a room by climbing through the window. It always seemed odd to me. I'll have a more accurate mental image from now on. :)

Vanessa
02-17-2006, 10:01 AM
French Doors are what we call them (double doors with glass panes, like what reph gave us a link to). My mom has a set of them that opens up to the patio, but whether they opened up to the yard, they are still called french doors.

pdr
02-17-2006, 10:59 AM
Thank you for the pictures, Reph. I forget my computer can look things up. I'm too old and used to books!

Oops, Scribhneoir, yes, we have Dutch or stable doors too but I meant that some French windows are not all glass panes. Not that they were divided into two. Sorry about that.

Nope, in NZ we call 'em French windows and when I was living near Melbourne for a year in a lovely old house they were called French windows too.

Must be an age thing.
Nice to know what French doors are.

anniewalker
02-17-2006, 09:44 PM
Annie, for the purpose of what you're writing, what's important: the design of the doors or the fact that they give access to a patio? If it's only the latter, "patio doors" will work although Americans will visualize something different than you do.

The fact that they give access to the patio is the more important thing, really. I decided to settle with that.

I did think that that was the right phrase, but for some reason it started niggling at me.

Thank you for all the contributions by the way.

Maryn
02-18-2006, 12:43 AM
I hope readers appreciate what we go through for them, eh?

Jamesaritchie
02-21-2006, 05:08 AM
Hi, I'm a Brit writing a piece for a mainly US audience. I just got stuck with "patio doors".

Do Americans call them that? It doesn't sound right.

Just in case...they're the glass, usually double doors that lead out into the garden! Sometimes also called French doors over here too.

Thanks for any advice.



A "patio door" is the door, usually double glass, that opens to the patio. If there is no patio, there is no patio door.

And I've never lived anywhere that confused "back door" with "patio door." They're two completely different things, regardless of how many doors you have or lack.

Over here, "French doors" are a particular kind of double doors that are usually inside the house and separate one room from another, often a living room from a dining room.

But it's never, ever correct to refer to a patio door as a back door, or a back door as a patio door, anymore than it's correct to to call a bus a car or a car a bus just because both are vehicles.

And, yes, I happen to live in a place right now that has only a front door and a patio door, but no one would ever call the patio door the back door. It isn't a back door, it's a patio door, double glass and sliding, that allows one access to the patio.

But it's not about the door, really, it's about where the door takes you.

Sage
02-21-2006, 05:17 AM
A "patio door" is the door, usually double glass, that opens to the patio. If there is no patio, there is no patio door.

And I've never lived anywhere that confused "back door" with "patio door." They're two completely different things, regardless of how many doors you have or lack.

Over here, "French doors" are a particular kind of double doors that are usually inside the house and separate one room from another, often a living room from a dining room.

But it's never, ever correct to refer to a patio door as a back door, or a back door as a patio door, anymore than it's correct to to call a bus a car or a car a bus just because both are vehicles.

And, yes, I happen to live in a place right now that has only a front door and a patio door, but no one would ever call the patio door the back door. It isn't a back door, it's a patio door, double glass and sliding, that allows one access to the patio.

But it's not about the door, really, it's about where the door takes you.I disagree. If you have a patio in the backyard, the patio door is also the back door. Both my current apartment & my parents' house have a front door, &, in the back, a sliding glass door that leads to a patio. We refer to it as the back door, the patio door, or the sliding glass door (or screen door, if the glass door is open, but the screen is closed, but I digress).

Cathy C
02-21-2006, 05:24 AM
I grew up in a house with a front door, a back door and a sliding door that led to the side yard. We called it "the sliding door". Most all of our neighbors only had a front door and a pair of double doors (French doors) leading to the back yard--there were no actual "patios" or gardens in the entire subdivision, just grass and trees. That door was the back door. Nobody where I grew up EVER referred to a rear-facing door as the patio door. Must be a regional thing.

luxintenebrae
02-21-2006, 08:37 AM
We never even call it a patio. We call it a porch. Sometimes my family calls it a lanai, which I don't like. Mostly, it's porch though. I always thought it was a midwestern thing (since that's where my parents are from, as well as most of my friends' parents, and my friends call it the same thing). So I think that's also a regional thing.

DaveKuzminski
02-21-2006, 10:58 PM
In the US, I would guess that most people would associate A and E (A&E) with the Arts and Entertainment Television Network.

In most of the areas where I've lived, sliding glass doors were often referred to as patio doors even if there wasn't a patio. I've lived in Virginia, New York, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, and Indiana.

TheIT
02-21-2006, 11:04 PM
In the US, I would guess that most people would associate A and E (A&E) with the Arts and Entertainment Television Network.



Which was exactly what we thought, so none of us understood why the characters in the story were taking the man with a broken leg to a TV station. :D

DaveKuzminski
02-21-2006, 11:27 PM
Why, to make a documentary, of course. ;)

Scribhneoir
02-22-2006, 02:02 AM
And I've never lived anywhere that confused "back door" with "patio door." They're two completely different things, regardless of how many doors you have or lack.

<snip>

But it's never, ever correct to refer to a patio door as a back door, or a back door as a patio door, anymore than it's correct to to call a bus a car or a car a bus just because both are vehicles.



Nonsense. I live in California and here we use patio door, back door and sliding glass door interchangeably. "Back door" and "patio door" are not completely different things (unless you're talking about a specific house with specific exits of a specific type of door going to a specific location).

Whatever gave you the idea that it's "never, ever correct to refer to a patio door as a back door, or a back door as a patio door"?

luxintenebrae
02-22-2006, 02:48 AM
Here in Florida (well, I shouldn't say everyone in FL says this because I'm sure everyone is different) we call the sliding glass door - no matter where it leads - a sliding glass door. The screen door on the patio/porch we call a screen door or back door, screen door if you want to make sure the other person understands what you're talking about and want to be more specific. I'm sure some people call a sliding glass door a back door here, but it's too confusing if you're giving someone instructions. My family and friends at least like to find some distinction among all the doors in the house. I also was trying to think today why we've never called our porch a patio. I think it's because we believe a patio should have a pool, while a porch doesn't need one. But each person is different and refers to things differently depending on where they live and what their parents called it. I think whatever you decide to call it in your novel, most people should understand what you mean.

reph
02-22-2006, 02:58 AM
In California, anyway, a porch is elevated and is most likely made of wood. A patio may be flush with the ground or even sunken and is faced with concrete, stone, or tile. It doesn't have to have a pool.