Posted by: episystechpubs | June 27, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Stand by Your Man

This is something I wrote about before, back when the Editor’s Corner went to about 20 people. Since I’ve had some questions and comments on these recently, it’s time to take them for another spin.

Frequently confused nouns (sometimes used as noun modifiers) and verbs:

· login = noun; log in = verb

Click the login field and enter your user name.

To log in to the system, you will need the secret password.

· backup = noun; back up = verb

If you don’t run a daily backup, you may lose important information.

After you back up your car, I will park my lovely ’76 Gremlin in the driveway.

· checkup = noun; check up = verb

Margarita’s checkup was great; the scrofula had disappeared!

He asked me to check up on Grandpa and make sure he wasn’t teaching the kids how to play mumblety-peg.

· holdout = noun; hold out = verb

During deliberations, the only holdout was Joey the baker; he wanted more information before he decided the woman’s fate.

As it snowed, Pepper’s father told her to hold out her hand to catch the flakes.

· standby = noun; stand by = verb

The standby travelers looked glum; it would be thirty hours before the next flight out of Reykjavik.

If you stand by Clara, she will try to hold your hand.

There are others, but this should get you off to a good start.

Note: Some of the nouns have alternate spellings that include hyphens. The option you use would be defined by your house style guide. Additionally, if you run into other pairs like this, and can’t remember which one is the noun and which one is the verb, the dictionary is always willing to tell you!

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