Some buzzwords just seem to exist to wind me up. So I thought I'd write a blog about it.

Something that sprung up in the office recently was the term ‘on-premise’. Right-minded, normal human beings would hear this term and think “huh?” The correct term is, of course, on-premises, with ‘on-premise’ making absolutely no sense at all to anyone with even half a brain. But it has become so depressingly entrenched in the vocabulary of industry players that even people who know better are using this nonsensical term. Why should this be so?


It only takes a small group of people to start making a mistake like ‘on-premise’ and before you know it, everyone’s saying it. But why? The first time I heard someone say it, I corrected them. Not because I’m a Grammar Nazi (though I suppose I should confess that I am), but because I didn’t want them to go around saying it and appearing stupid when a quick friendly word from me would set them straight and save them further embarrassment. I don’t know why other people wouldn’t do this. Maybe they don’t care about saving other people from embarrassment, maybe they don’t realise ‘on-premise’ makes absolutely no sense, maybe they don’t hear the difference. It’s probably all three. If someone thinks something is a new buzzword, they’ll latch on to it. That’s just human nature – it doesn’t matter if you’re in the playground or the boardroom.

Buzzwords and beyond

Every day I get floods of emails asking if I’d like to ‘reach out’ to more people, create more ‘touchpoints’ or find out more about ‘datafication’. ‘Cloud’ as a term seems to have settled down into a predictable set of meanings, but you’ll still hear it thrown in to very bizarre contexts. Sheeple seem to think that by stuffing these quasi-meaningless words into an email mean they sound like they’re industry veterans. Shame on the rest of us for letting them get away with it. I also suspect there’s a certain amount of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’

Getting back to the title: will buzzwords be the end of communication? Of course not: I was parodying the buzzfeed-esque “You won’t BELIEVE what happened next!” titles we see spewed everywhere as clickbait. Ooh, I just used a buzzword: ‘clickbait’, but it had meaning, purpose and wasn’t a senseless corruption of something else. So buzzwords in fact do have their place and when used correctly can actually enhance the way we communicate.

Do you English well?

Since we’re on the subject of English, someone posted something amusing last night and I thought I’d share it here. It’s a collection of funny comments that perfectly demonstrate the horrors/beauties (delete as appropriate) of the English language.