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Premise or Premises?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between premise and premises?

A premise is a basis for a theory. For example:
  • The media's job is to question a premise. (Joey Skaggs)
Premises are land and buildings. For example:
  • The company moved to new premises last year.

Premise or Premises

A premise is part of an argument. 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. For example:


The verb to premise means to presuppose something.

Examples:
  • The judge granted the divorce on the premise that the husband had committed adultry.
  • I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. (Ralph Nader)
  • They premised that the universe was three billion years old.
  • (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.

Examples:
  • The police men removed the protesters from the premises.
  • Alcohol is forbidden on these premises.
Beware

The plural of premise is premises

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 property.
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