Premise, Premises

The last post was about pairs of words that people get mixed up. Here’s another pair. They aren’t even synonyms.

A premise is a starting point in logic, a foundational statement. For example, “All men are mortal” is a premise.
Premises refers to property, buildings, land, and so on, occupied or owned by someone or something. It always ends in “s” and we usually treat the word as a plural.

The two words are not synonyms!

Here’s an example of correct usage:

Kubernetes is currently supported as a hosted service on all three major public cloud providers—Google, AWS and Microsoft Azure—and has a broad system of vendors that also provide Kubernetes distributions that can run on-premises or in the cloud.

If the article had said “on-premise” it would have been incorrect. I’m not goint to quote anyone using the word incorrectly because I don’t want to embarrass them. But I could.

PS—Alert readers might notice that I used a singular verb, “refers,” in my definition of “premises.” Was I treating “premises” as a singular? Well, no. I elided (left off) the actual subject of the sentence, which is “The word.” I could have written “The word “premises” refers to…” but I wanted to be concise. And it gave me an excuse to put in this postscript.