Friday, October 30, 2009


The word premises, meaning ‘the building and land near to it that a business owns or uses’ (Oxford), is always plural. Hence, a plural noun and verb are needed: These are smoke-free premises.


The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

As a dyslexic writer I feel nothing but envy at your mastery of English grammar.
All the very best,

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Thanks very much for your kind compliment, Simone. I hope I'm not being patronizing by saying that I wouldn't have guessed you were dyslexic--you write beautifully.

As for me, I envy writers, and decided a long time ago that I could never become one. I may have a better-than-usual understanding of grammar--which I ought to, since I teach teachers--but I'm only too keenly aware of the fact that my writing style is too bland and functional. I could never make it in creative writing!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little puzzled. If this poster is stuck on the wall of a particular building, wouldn't it be weird to say, "These are smoke-free premises?" when it's meant for just that building?

The Grammar Terrorist said...

No, it wouldn't be -- it's just a quirk of the English language that the word 'premises' is always plural, even if it refers to one building and its surroundings.

Quince Pan said...
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