A big spread of a place

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Senior Member
There was one industry in Laney. One factory. A big spread of a place. A long low assembly shed, weathered metal siding, built in the sixties.
Source: No Middle Name by Lee Child

Is the word spread used here for emphasis?

Thank you.
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I find the bold section an odd choice of words. It gives me the idea that the place "spreads" over a large area, but the next sentence says the building is long, which rather contradicts my idea. It's not the first time that this author's language has given me trouble.
    Last edited:
    I instantly understood "spread" as meaning a large expanse of land from American westerns on TV or in the movies.

    I'd never heard of the author, so I did some research and got a bit intrigued with the fact that he's from England but had moved to the U.S. in the early 1990's before beginning his successful series of crime/espionage novels featuring American characters and lingo typical of that genre.

    Here's what Wikipedia had to say about him under the category of Writing Style:

    Grant's prose has been described as "hardboiled" and "commercial" in style, with short sentences, often without a verb, more exclamations than sentences.

    That seems to fit in with both sound shift's and Myridon's comments and observations.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    What could it mean – other than that it was a large factory but presumably all on one level ("long low"), which would account for its covering a lot of ground?


    Senior Member
    English - US
    One factory (that was) a big spread of a place (including) a long low assembly shed.
    Factories are generally made up of more than one building, parking lots, etc.
    Even if it's only the one building, it could still have a lot of land around it.
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