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One word, two word, which one will do? Login, setup, and other puzzlers

January 15, 2020 — Joe Brockmeier

When editing technical writing about things like Linux, you'll start to notice a pattern of errors. One that I've noticed over and over again is the use of "login" and "setup" as verbs rather than the correct forms "log in" and "set up." Of course these are not usually flagged by grammar or spell checkers because they're valid words, just not in this context. Here's how to know when to use which.

If you're describing a thing (using as a noun), like saying "my login is user1" then it's one word. You can log in to your setup with a login and password. But if you're going to set something up, then it's two words. But if's "hey, look at my nifty setup," then it's one word.

A good test to see which is which would be to see if it works to insert a word in the middle. For example, "can you log me in?" Or "I need to set my blog up" then it's two words. But if you're describing a thing then you wouldn't slam a word in the middle.

Tags: fedora, grammar, tech-writing, editing.

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Links for Wednesday, 13 November 2019

November 13, 2019 — Joe Brockmeier

Have been out of the habit of blogging for way too long. Going to try to post something here every day for 100 days to see if I can make it a habit, even if it's just links to things I find interesting.

"Ban these words" — Columbia Journalism Review

We all have our pet peeves, and I agree with some of these, disagree with nondescript. In many cases it does the job.

My list, which keeps growing every year, includes "believe/believes," "vow," almost all uses of a variant of "alleged," any modifier of "unique," and "swirl/swirled/swirling." (As in "rumors have been swirling.") I would strike any use of "so-and-so believes XYZ," particularly in political reporting, because there's no earthly way to know what someone believes. You can say so-and-so says they believe something, but you can't really know it. So when a pol claims to believe something, you're lending credence they don't deserve to the statement by accepting it as fact.

"Mister Rogers' Enduring Wisdom" — The Atlantic

I am often asked what Fred would have made of our time—what he would have made of Donald Trump, what he would have made of Twitter, what he would have made of what is generally called our “polarization” but is in fact the discovery that we don’t like our neighbors very much once we encounter them proclaiming their political opinions on social media. I often hear people say that they wish Fred were still around to offer his guidance and also that they are thankful he is gone, because at least he has been spared from seeing what we have become. In all of this, there is something plaintive and a little desperate, an unspoken lament that he has left us when we need him most, as though instead of dying of stomach cancer he was assumed by rapture, abandoning us to our own devices and the judgment implicit in his absence.

Really good read. Take the time to read it in full, it's worth it.

Tags: link-o-rama, grammar, writing, journalism

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