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Let's say my apartments are in three buildings and they are surrounded by a fence outside; let's say I drop my wallet somewhere inside one of those buildings, so I'll say

I dropped wallet somewhere in the building 1.

However, if I don't know where that happened in the apartments, but somewhere inside the fences, meaning the apartment property, for example, the walkway, the parking, etc., how should I describe that. Obviously saying

Somewhere on the property of apartments

sounds awkward.

And I often hear

Somewhere around the campus. Of (Office, Shopping mall, Apartments)

Is 'campus' idiomatic here?

So my question is how should I describe a property with buildings,walkaways etc. combined.

2 Answers 2

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The word that comes to mind that means the entirety of the property is the grounds.

ground n. 4. The land surrounding or forming part of a house or another building. Often used in the plural: a guesthouse on the grounds of the mansion.

So you could say something like this:

I dropped my wallet somewhere on the grounds of my apartment building.

This does sound a teensy bit awkward to me though, and there's the danger that grounds could be interpreted as only the ground on which nothing has been built; that is, only the outdoors portion of the property.

So, in the absence of a better word and thinking about how this would probably come up in a conversation naturally, I'd probably go with something like this:

Person A: (meeting their friend in the parking lot outside their apartment building) Oh no, my wallet is missing!

Person B: Well where did you last see it?

Person A: I put it in my pocket back up in the apartment. I must have dropped it somewhere along the way.

So from context we now know that the wallet must be either in the apartment, or somewhere along the path through the apartment complex the person travelled to reach the parking lot.

Also note that if you drop your wallet at a school, you can in fact use campus to describe where you lost it. ("I dropped my wallet somewhere on campus.") But no other place I can think of would take this description.

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  • I see the word 'campus' being used here to define Google's office en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googleplex.
    – Rohit
    Aug 30, 2013 at 21:05
  • "Campus" is generally used in the contexts of an academic or learning institution of some sorts. Googleplex is in line with that. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/campus Aug 30, 2013 at 21:13
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    @JamesChristopher: Campuses are not exclusively academic. Hospitals and companies can also have campuses if there are multiple buildings over a wide area, although I'll agree, I've never heard of campus used to refer to a residential estate.
    – Matt
    Aug 30, 2013 at 22:31
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    Another alternative is premises, though I think it's more appropriate in certain circumstances than in others.
    – user230
    Aug 30, 2013 at 22:33
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Multiple apartments are typically referred to as a complex.

"I dropped my wallet somewhere in the complex."

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    +1 I usually always keep the noun together: I found your wallet in the parking lot of the apartment complex
    – Jim
    Aug 31, 2013 at 0:51

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