Somebody somewhere made a mistake. That person said or wrote “on-premise” when actually meaning “on-premises”, as in “on location, on site, etc. All of the sudden, this non-sensical, incorrect term has taken over web pages and sales pitches everywhere, unleashing an epidemic of colossal proportions.

The issue is that there is no singular form of the word ‘premises’. One building is referred to as “the premises”, and several buildings are referred to as “the premises”. The word ‘premise’ means something else entirely. When used to describe that something (software, hardware, etc.) is installed within a customer’s building, the term is “on-premises”. That’s the only way to spell it, even if it’s only one building.

How this happened is truly beyond me – it’s like nobody ever noticed. You can actually find it on the websites of the biggest companies (IT-focussed ones are the biggest likely infractors) – the ones with professional writers on staff and big advertising budgets. But I won’t name names

One could argue that the widespread use of a transformed term is the premise of a bona fide language change, but I beg to differ. Not this time. They’re all wrong. Notably, I’ve never seen Apple blunder with this specific term.

Whether or not I’m a snobby grammar slammer, or if I’ve blundered in my attempt at a viral headline, is entirely off premise.