The recognition and rapid degradation of mRNAs with premature translation termination codons by the nonsense-mediated pathway of mRNA decay is an important RNA quality control system in eukaryotes. In mammals, the efficient recognition of these mRNAs is dependent upon exon junction complex proteins deposited on the RNA during pre-mRNA splicing. In yeast, splicing does not play a role in recognition of mRNAs that terminate translation prematurely, raising the possibility that proteins deposited during alternative pre-mRNA processing events such as 3′ end formation might contribute to the distinction between normal and premature translation termination. We have utilized mRNAs with a 3′ poly(A) tail generated by ribozyme cleavage to demonstrate that the normal process of 3′ end cleavage and polyadenylation is not required for mRNA stability or the detection of a premature stop codon. Thus, in yeast, the distinction between normal and premature translation termination events is independent of both splicing and conventional 3′ end formation.