the two-acre lot

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Senior Member
Halfway back to Flint City, Ralph finally realized what had been bugging him about the bra strap.
He pulled into the two-acre lot of a Byron’s Liquor Warehouse, and hit speed-dial.
Source: Outsider by Stephen King
Context: Ralph is a detective.

the two-acre lot is a reference to the two-care parking lot, right?

Thank you.
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In that case it must be, I’m sure. But a lot can also be a plot of land used for some purpose other than parking.


    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Yes, the meaning is clear from the context, including the fact that it is in a Stephen King novel where American colloquial idiom is often very strong.

    I have noticed that Americans sometimes shorten what I would call “a parking lot” to simply “a lot”. To my ears, and apparently to Lingobingo’s and yours too, this creates some ambiguity because “lot” just means “a designated unit of saleable land” to me, without having any sense that it is for parking cars.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It has two possible meanings:
    1) (the primary meaning): the parcel of land that covers two acres on which the business called "Byron's Liquor Warehouse" -- and probably its attached parking area -- is located.
    2) (a secondary, but far less likely, meaning): the two-acre parking lot of Byron's Liquor Warehouse.

    Note that in American English, a "lot" is a parcel of land. For example, in my neighborhood most houses occupy lots that are 40 feet by 100 feet, or 50 feet by 100 feet, or 60 feet by 100 feet in size. Very little of that area is intended for parking as car; most of it is occupied by a house, and the front and back yards.


    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Thanks GreenWhiteBlue, that’s very interesting and very different from my own experience.

    We most often use “block (of land)” but we understand “lot” too and it is the word used on plans.

    We bought Lot 23 in the new subdivision at the back of South Hobart. It’s a great block, and it covers nearly 2,000 square metres so we can build our dream house at last.​

    But as far as visiting a large business is concerned we would simply never refer to its area and the parcel of land like that. Even it was a simple one level car park we wouldn’t mention area in anything but the vaguest terms.

    I pulled into Bunnings Warehouse (car park) and hit speed dial.

    He pulled into the big Smith Street Car Park, covering two city blocks, and hit...
    (With “blocks” here meaning roughly the grid size of the town rather than the area of land parcels)
    I can’t image anyone even knowing the areas of the land businesses are on, much less mentioning it in ordinary conversation/description. As you allude to, maybe it’s because you have regular grids laid out while our land is just allocated in relatively haphazard parcels. Although looking at Flint City, Alabama (if that’s the right Flint City?) on Google maps, I can’t see much difference between the arrangement of land boundaries between it and a small town in Australia.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think his purpose in including that information was simply to inform the reader that it was a very large area occupied by a single store. That's reinforced by the name of the establishment, Byron's Liquor Warehouse. It's setting the scene as an author, it's not something someone would say in real life. He's letting you know it's the liquor store equivalent of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. It's not a small mom and pop store.

    Two acres = 1/2 the size of the average Wal-Mart Super Center = 0.8 hectares

    The average McDonald's, including the parking area, is 4000 square feet = 0.1 acres. Imagine a liquor store 20 times bigger than a McDonald's.

    I think in this case, "lot" is a reference to "parking lot".
    Last edited:
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