Andrew Schoen
2 min readApr 3, 2017


TLDR: It’s “on-premises” or “on-prem.” You should NEVER say “on-premise.”

This grammatical idiocy hurts my eyes.

In IT, on-premises (or “on-prem” as it’s often abbreviated) refers to software that runs on hardware that’s physically located on the premises (e.g., in the building), as opposed to software that runs remotely (e.g., in the cloud).

NEVER say “on-premise.” Why?


  1. Premises: a house or building, together with its land and outbuildings (properties).
  2. Premise: an idea, theory, or theme that forms the basis for a statement or action.

For some reason, some people in the tech world (including many smart people) think it’s correct to say “on-premise” to refer to software running on hardware located on the premises.

The leading theory as to how this travesty occurred is that over the last decade, someone thought the word premises must be plural (it ends in an ‘s, doesn’t it?), so they decided to use premise as the singular (one premise, two premises… right?) WRONG — premise is an entirely different word with a completely different meaning!

Also, the word premises is already singular — well, technically it’s a plurale tantum, meaning it’s the same for singular and plural, just like the word scissors, but the point is:

Stop saying “on-premise” to refer to hardware located in the building! It makes no sense!



Andrew Schoen

Venture Capital Investor at NEA (New Enterprise Associates). Co-Founder of Flicstart. Schwarzman Scholar.