help me with usage of words

Yikuang   Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:56 am GMT
I hate to ask such a question here, but it has confused me for some time. When doing my translation job, I need to desribe a piece of land on which a residential housing project will be built. At present, I use plot for that. However, I looked it up in a dictionary which defines it as 'a small piece of land that is used or intended for a special use'. I also look up the word 'lot' which has a meaning 'an area of land used for a particular purpose'. There is another word for it: block, meaning 'a large area of land'.

I'm totally bewildered by these words. Which word do you natives use for the thing that I need to describe? And, a small piece of land, how small? A large area of land, how large?

Do help me. Thanks

Guest   Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:03 am GMT
perhaps : tract (of land), for the whole project; lots for individual houses.
Yikuang   Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:38 am GMT
thank you. it really helps and perhaps i have learned the correct word.
Yikuang   Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:59 am GMT
We can read of things like: no. 10 Downing Street, and Mozart's piano concerto no. 29. The 'no. x' should be placed in front of a phrase or after a phrase? Is there a rule? Thanks again.
Robin   Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:11 pm GMT
Number 10 Downing Street is an address, and there are conventions as to how addresses, are written.

Mozart's piano Concerto Number 29. This is a series of Piano Concerto's.

The number is placed after the description.

Don't ask me where the apostrophe should go to show the plural of Concerto.

I would use 'plot' to describe a single piece of land for one building. 'Lot' sounds more like 'job lot', something that is sold at an auction.

Ok: A 'job lot', is a collection of things that are sold together.
Cow   Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:25 pm GMT
>> Piano Concerto's

Don't ask me where the apostrophe should go to show the plural of Concerto. <<

There is no apostrophe! The correct plural of "Concerto" in musical terms is "Concerti", or the more Anglicized version is "Concertos", but never an apostrophe.
Dave   Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:28 am GMT
I can offer an opinion which might help. 'Plot' and 'lot' are nearly interchangeable in common speech. Any differences between the two are very, very subtle, although personally I use 'lot' for land in an urban area and 'plot' for land in the countryside. 'Tract' is a great alternative for a larger grouping. Another I would use would be 'estate' (which can be used for bare land or for land and buildings on the land) or 'property'. 'Property' can be tricky, though, as it can mean land or goods. In the States, when you want to buy land or land with a building on it, regardless of the size, the absolute most common term used is 'real estate'. (E.g.: real estate market, real estate listings, real estate agent.) In legal transactions, the term 'real estate' is used almost exclusively. Good luck, and I hope I helped.
Yikuang   Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:03 pm GMT
Thanks Dave for your explanation.

Below is a part of my translation of a Chinese article, which was done about half month ago. I used the word 'tract' for a piece of land to be used for construction, following the suggestion from 'Guest Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:03 am GMT'. Before this article, I used to use 'plot' for that. Now, with the explanation from Dave, I think I'll plan to use 'lot' for that in my future translation. By the way, I'm not very confident of my translation. So I put it here for you to read, in an attempt to see if your natives can understand what this article says. Any comment and critics is welcome.

Beijing land authority revealed yesterday that tracts of land for commercial housing with price limit increased to 18 pieces

The message released from Beijing Municipal Administration of State Land, Resources and Housing on October 15 showed that, in the remaining period of this year, it is anticipated there is a provision of another 29 tracts of land with approximately an area of 400 hectares, among which 350 hectares are mainly used for construction of residential housing.
The Administration also said that up to now 18 tracts had initially been sorted out as suitable ones for the construction of ‘general commercial housing with the double limit’, totaling an area of about 450 hectares, among which 3.5 million square meters are planned for construction of residential housing. Whereas, the previously published tracts of land for ‘general commercial housing with the double limit’ were 13; that is to say, 5 tracts were added.
Situated mainly in the east, south and west parts in the central area of Beijing city, these tracts will be put out to tender. Based on the rule of the double limit on apartment pattern and selling price and by means of competition both in land price and house price, the developers will be decided through the tender. The first batch of tracts to be put out to tender are the Guangqulu No. 15 tract, the tract used by Beijing Red-lion Coatings Factory and the Nanshatan tract. Until now compiling of the documents for the tender of the three tracts has almost finished.