<a> proper quarters

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
— They got a proper quarters for me in a building on the south side, but we prefer it here. When they promoted me to head of maintenance, they said I could have it.
Split, movie

What would be the reason for using 'a' with a plural in this context?
Thanks.
 
  • Brannoc

    Member
    British English
    The word quarters, with an s at the end, is mostly used in the military for accomodation or somewhere to live, with no connection to the singular word quarter at all. In this case they are probably emphasising respectable quarters as against something very ordinary.

    However it can be used as a general term for ordinary accomodation as well....
     
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    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    The word quarters, with an s at the end, is mostly used in the military for accomodation or somewhere to live, with no connection to the singular word quarter at all. In this case they are probably emphasising respectable quarters as against something very ordinary.

    However it can be used as a general term for ordinary accomodation as well....
    Sorry but I don't understand how can one use "a" with "quarters". It's still ungrammatical, right?..
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    The indefinite article suggests a military idiom;

    there is typically 'the headquarters' (ie. only one) and many staff 'quartered' or having 'a quarters'
    where they are accommodated at the organization's expense
    ('a quarter' - singular - means something else; one of four equal parts).

    It can be a way of sounding formal/organized, or even militaristic, whether one is in the military or not.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Just to add my two-penn'orth — as far as I can see, none of the main dictionaries considers quarters in this sense to be anything but a plural.
     
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    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    21+ years in the Navy, and I never heard anyone say "a quarters."
    The construction follows the pattern of "a headquarters" without the 'head'.
    If "a quarters" is not in actual use in the military, it emphasizes the fact that the character is delusional;
    the film 'Split' is about someone with multiple personalities, this one expressing itself in pseudo-military idioms.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    No article.

    Private, return to your quarters.

    Have you seen the captain?
    I believe he is in his quarters.
     

    andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Unlike “headquarters” where the verb following it can be either singular or plural (“is” or “are” depending on the context), I would only use “are” after “living quarters”.
     
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