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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > GB vs US English "form vs grade"    

GB vs US English "form vs grade"

United States

GB vs US English "form vs grade"
Good Morning my fellow ESL addicts,
( I think I look forward to you more than my morning coffee Wacko)
Can someone please clarify soemthing for me?
I corrected one of my advanced students yesterday when she used the word "form" to describe which school year (US-"grade") somebody was in.  She later showed me that Pons online dictionary identifies this as correct for GB English(GBE).
Is the term "form" in GBE generally interchangeable with "grade" in USE (concerning school year) or is "form" used only in special cases?
Thanks in advance,

19 Feb 2009      

New Zealand

In NZ we have Forms not grades..... the UK uses it too..... :-)
(Although the UK also uses the word "Year" to indicate which form/grade.....)

19 Feb 2009     


i went to school in england and i was in a form. All the first formers were scared of the big 5th formers.

However it was used like this:

Each year was split into 4 forms. So the teacher would ask a question like so,

Teacher:You boy what year are you in?

Student: I am in the 2nd year sir.
Teacher: What form?
Student: I am in 2s.
hope this helps.

19 Feb 2009     


Here in Malaysia they have two different terms for primary and secondary schools.  Primary have year 1 to 6 and secondary form 1 to 6, so you would estimate the child �s age and then ask year or form, depending upon if you determined they were primary or secondary.  The difficulty comes with kids who look like form 3 and are year 5 and vice versa.
Hope that confuses even more.

19 Feb 2009     


Downunder we had forms in secondary school a long long time ago.  It was then changed to grades and now it is years e.g,  Year 10.  Secondary school is usually referred to as high school however in the ACT, one of the states, upper secondary school is referred to as college.  It becomes confusing when a student says they went to college in ACT and we think it is college as in post-secondary education whereas in fact it is upper secondary school.
At the end of the day it can all be quite confusing and can not only vary from country to country but between states/provinces within a country.

19 Feb 2009     

United Kingdom

Im English.  my school used Form  - form one being 11 years old. (the old grammar school system).
Now they use Year - Year one being 4 years old.
I think thats true for all of UK.

19 Feb 2009     


Hi Douglas, it is comparable... from what I have seen. But I think the difference is elementary school uses "year" and "junior/high" school uses "form"...

In Canada, we also have "grades" instead of forms or years. 

19 Feb 2009     

United States

Thanks you all--this helps

19 Feb 2009     


In England we use "year" as in "year7, 7ear 8, year 9 etc." up until someone is 16. After that they become "6 formers" for 2 years. Although things may have changed a bit in the last 10 years.

25 Feb 2009     


for what is worth, I used to teach Spanish last year in a private school in England, and they used Years (I taught Year 11 and Year 12).
Regarding the 6th Forms the above poster mentioned, as far as I know, it doesn �t apply to every Year 11 and 12 (or 12 and 13 depending on the part of the UK) there are now �special � sixth form colleges that students can attend, but I �m not sure what the difference between 6th Form and regular HIghschool is.

26 Feb 2009