premises: singular or plural?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Diddy, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Diddy

    Diddy Senior Member

    Hi Forum!!!!

    I had just opened a thread asking for some plurarl/singular words, but I do not know what could happen, as now I can´t find it through my Control Panel, then I am now submitting again the words that were not answered before. These are:

    <...> 2. premisses

    Are those words singular or plural? Would you please write me an example to see how to use each word in singular and in plural sentences?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. mhp Senior Member

    American English

    Premisses or premises can be either singular or plural depending on how you use it. As a tract of land (local in Spanish), I'd say it is singular even though it has a plural form. It is not usual to see it used as a plural noun in this case: These premises.

    PS. Moved from Spanish Forum.
  3. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English

    Google returns 23,300,000 hits for "premises are."
  4. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    Thank you for your spelling "correction"

    Main Entry: Pemise
    Variant:also premiss
    (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Merriam-Webster does not, however, accede to "premisses" as the plural in modern usage as far as I can see. It does mentioned "premisses" in Middle English, however. Perhaps I missed it.
  6. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    No, you did not miss anything. As far as I know, dictionaries, in general, do not list plural of regular nouns. At least in my dictionary, there is no mention of fathers being the plural of father, or premises being the plural of premise.
  7. Diddy

    Diddy Senior Member


    And what about the word premises? It would be correct to say:
    The new premises is located at the North of our Country.
    When we refer to a property or building.

    But, in which case can I use this word with a plural verb? Would you please write me a sentence as an example, please? Another little thing, I found in my english book that word written with double "ss" as premisses????? If it is not a typing error, both words means the same thing?

    All the placed answer have been of a great help for me to understand English better.
    Thanks to all
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thread now single-topic.

    With quotes to search for the phrase, with "premises are" together:
    2,070,000 for "premises are.
    As a matter of curiousity:
    1,570,000 for "premises is.

    It is not unusual now to find premises used with a singular verb.
  9. Leitmotif New Member

    Using number of Google hits to establish whether language usage is correct is ridiculous.
  10. scrotgrot Senior Member

    English - English
    I've always heard it said in the plural, even with a single building. The premises are located on Broad Street. And Google hits are a fairly valid indicator, I'd say, you just need to use your common sense; there's a difference between academic procedure and common sense, which is why everyone uses Wikipedia for knowledge but you wouldn't cite it with a ten-foot bargepole in an academic work.
  11. Leitmotif New Member

    I'm afraid that's just not true. Google searches only reveal instances of a term or combination of terms occurring, but instances of occurrence provide no guarantee of correctness. That same common sense should indicate this.
  12. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    When "premise" means an assumption or a proposition that forms part of an argument, it is a singular noun. Its plural is "premises", and that plural always requires a plural verb.

    There is another meaning for the plural form "premises", though: a piece of land, or a building. Correctly, this form should also have a plural verb (as in The premises were searched by the police); however, because the word can be used to refer to a single structure, you will occasionally find people using the singular for this meaning (as in The premises has been vacant for two months.) Despite this usage by soem people, the correct form is to use a plural verb with the word "premises", even when the word is used to refer to land or buildings.
  13. susanna76 Senior Member

    I also heard someone use "premises" to mean building with a singular verb, and was about to ask whether it was correct. Was happy to find GreenWhiteBlue's answer here.

    My example went as follows,
    "He used his shop as a betting premises." (Spoken by someone -- not the narrator but a person involved in learning more about her grandfather -- in a documentary on The History Channel.)
  14. frenchglen New Member

    English - AU/UK (prefer UK)
    With the meaning of premises meaning piece of land etc:

    Could a way to distinguish it (this would only be in speech, mind you), be in the pronunciation of it? Is there a (formal and correct) rule whereby the singular is 'pre-mə-səs and plural is 'pre-mə-sɪz?

    (like thesis and theses just without the change from is to es?)

    Be great to find out, I don't know where I have got this idea from but maybe it's indeed from that latin pattern idea (just without the spelling change like it normally accompanies). Does it hold water, is there a proper distinction between pronunciation of singular and plural?

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