el. contractor has left (residential house) - checking the branch outlets: Hot to neutral: 118.8V // Hot to Ground: 0V // Neutral to Ground: 119.2V?? How come? should I be getting such voltage perhaps on Hot to Ground and Neutral to Ground some fractions, perhaps 2V or less?? Briefly looking into the breaker panel box - blacks wire (hot) to breaker - white (neutral) to side conn.- green (ground), above white wire connectors to a similar connector? Did they switch somehow hot for neutral? Maybe I mistakenly believe that the right hand opening in in the outlet is neutral? (although black wire goes there?

  • 1
    right side or left side depends on whether ground is up or down. the neutral slot is slightly larger than the hot slot.
    – Skaperen
    Jun 6, 2015 at 11:16
  • 1
    If you are testing a receptacle, the polarity could be reversed.
    – Kris
    Jun 6, 2015 at 12:47

1 Answer 1


Hot and Neutral reversed - as the "hot to ground = 0V" reading confirms.

The Brass-colored screw gets the black/hot wire, the Silver-colored screw gets the white/neutral wire, and the wider blade looking at the outlet is neutral. That's left if the ground is down, right if the ground is up.

The Green-colored screw gets the green/bare ground wire.

A $5 or so plug in outlet tester (might as well get the GFCI-Testing version) will confirm these things easily without needing three tests and without potential for error in what is supposed to be what.

Outlet tester - image from home depot, not associated/no endorsement of same

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