Students are often confused at the difference between a hall and a corridor.

There are many other similar terms which refer to the same thing such as passage and aisle which add to the students confusion.

So after a little research of my own, I thought I would come up with an authoritative answer of my own.

But I do not day I am right.

First of all let’s take a look at the word ‘Corridor’ which has its origins in both latin and french and has found its way into the english language.

The simplest definition is that a corridor is a ‘running area’.

It does not mean at all that it is narrow or that it may or may not have doors leading off from it on either side.

The clue, I think, is in the definition referring to ‘run’ which suggests that it is an elongated area which could be wide or narrow according to circumstances.

A corridor by this definition does not need to be only in a building but can be air space, at sea or on land.

We tend to think of a hall as two separate things but actually can be the same thing depending on the layout of the building.

What I mean is this.

A hall can be an area of the house, perhaps in the entrance, which has the dimensions and feel of a room.

A hallway can lead off any room in a house and not necessarily the hall.

A hall can also be a building such as a concert hall, assembly or billiards hall.

Whatever, a hall or hallway refers entirely to a building but a corridor does not.

We also tend to think of a hall serving a domestic dwelling such as a house or apartment while we refer to corridors within a school, office or other such building.

What about an aisle then inside a church or on a plane or train?

The bride on her wedding day walks up the church aisle and not a corridor nor a hall.

We therefore think of an aisle as an unencased, open walkway which a hall, hallway and corridor are definitely not.

Not inside a building a least.

By the same token, we would never refer to a transport corridor such as the M4 corridor in southern England as an aisle or a hall.

So my view is that a hall is shorter and a corridor is longer.

Consider this.

There is a passageway with doors leading off to two or three rooms on both or either side.

I would call this a Hall because it is a short passageway.

When there is a long passageway with lots of rooms leading off from it such as in a Hotel, although it could be called a Hall (or Hallway), a Corridor is the most appropriate description for it.

Most homes are unlikely to have a hall with more than a few access points leading off from it to bedrooms and bathrooms but it is completely different in a hotel, school or corporate building.

The use of the word ‘corridor’ to refer to a tract of land, however large, through which something happens (or does not happen if it is a safety corridor)  has evolved in more recent times.

It has even been used in science-fiction literature to refer to people lost in a corridor of time between two time zones.

As I said, I do not say I am absolutely correct but I believe this offers a rational interpretation on the words we choose to use to describe passageways, hall, aisles and corridors.


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