Hey, I’ll Take It (a victory for on premises)

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In July, I wrote a post for this blog decrying the use of the phrase “on premise” to describe traditional software that is deployed at the customer’s location. I posited that this should rightly be referred to as “on premises” with the final s in tact.

Late yesterday, there is news of a victory of sorts. I received an email from my Sage colleague Tammy Mathews in which she informed me that the new Sage writing standards will include the correct usage for on premises!

I consider this one small step for a man. One giant leap for correct usage!

For the record, it is “on premises”

As the computer industry continues to evolve into more of a cloud centric model, I want to officially express my concern about the confusion between the words premise and premises.

It is my understanding that a premise (singular) is a set of one or more declarative sentences (or propositions) in a logical argument. Whereas a premises (also singular, while being the plural of premise) is the land and buildings together considered as a property.

The word, premises, in this latter context, is always used in the plural, but is singular in construction. For example, a single house or a single other piece of property is premises, not a premise, although the word, premises, is plural in form as in, “The server is located on the customer’s premises” and never “The server is located on the customer’s premise.”

This is a crazy construction in English where one word has two distinct meanings. I believe we should be referring to “on premises” solutions and not “on premise” solutions.

I have no problem with the shortened moniker of “on-prem,” but “on premise” is just plain wrong unless you are referring a premise of operation. For example, “We bought a hosted solution on the premise that it would be a lower total cost of ownership.”

It seems I am not alone as I found this reference written in 2009.

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