That's why it looks funny!

by Ted Jardine Friday, September 29, 2006 10:16 AM

 I've been meaning to make a post on this one since I first read it a couple weeks ago: Raymond Chen of OldNewThing points out when to use "shutdown" and when to use "shut down". I've always somehow intrinsically known that for some reason the similar "setup" works in certain contexts, while in others, "set up" feels right - but have never bothered to work out why. Now I know. It's because the former is a compound noun while the latter is a verb+particle.

Turns out someone else points out that this is a particular pet peeve of his:

Repeatedly in the last few days, I have read the word setup used as a verb. It's not. It's a noun. The verb form is two words: set up. You can set up a setup, or you can set a setup up, or this can be a setup, but you never setup a user’s computer.

In computerese, setup can also be the name of a program, in which case you can run setup, or run the setup program, but it's still not a verb.

There, I feel better now. Back to solving more important problems.

It's times like this that I really wonder how we ever figure English out. I speak Cantonese as a very second language, and know that I must thoroughly butcher it when I think of all things about English that I just know.

Why is this in a Developers' Blog? Well, in the event you send any correspondence to us, take note so that you might not cause serious angst (and see this) in us persnickety snobs (and be nice, point out any grammatical errors in any of the above so I can fix 'em real quick).


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