Premise or Premises?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Premise" and "Premises"?

"Premise" and "premises" are easy to confuse because the plural of "premise" ("premises") has another meaning.
  • "Premise" is a basis for a theory. For example:
    • Are you sure your theory is based on a solid premise? correct tick
    • The media's job is to question a premise. correct tick (Prankster Joey Skaggs)
  • "Premises" are land and buildings. For example:
    • The company moved to new premises last year.
premise or premises?

More about "Premise" and "Premises"

A "premise" is part of an argument or theory. The plural of "premise" is "premises." This causes confusion because the word "premises" also means land or property.

Premise

The noun "premise" is a term in logic that describes a statement considered to be true for the purpose of an argument or theory. For example:
premise or premises
The verb "to premise" means to presuppose something.

Example sentences with "premise":
  • The judge granted the divorce on the premise that the husband had committed adultery. correct tick
  • I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. correct tick (Ralph Nader)
  • They premised that the universe was three billion years old. correct tick
  • (Here, "premise" is being used as a verb.)

Premises

The noun "premises" describes a house or a building. It usually refers to a building that is occupied by a company or an organization.

Example sentences with "premises":
  • The police men removed the protesters from the premises. correct tick
  • Alcohol is forbidden on these premises. correct tick

Beware

The plural of the word "premise" is "premises." When you see the word "premises," it should be clear from the context whether it means propositions in an argument or a property.

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? pled guilty or pleaded guilty? who's or whose? List of easily confused words

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