One of the most common errors that I come across when reviewing documentation for developers is a conflation between the following words/phrases:
- setup/set up
- backup/back up
- login/log in
- cleanup/clean up
It’s pretty simple to remember the difference and it looks far more professional if you’re able to get it right.
The following are nouns or adjectives:
A noun is a word used for a person, place, thing, object etc. So the following sentences would be correct:
- Have you configured the setup?
- The backups were stored on the server.
An adjective is a word for describing something else:
- The setup process was ready to go.
- Go to the login screen.
- He needed their cleanup services.
- set up
- back up
- log in
- clean up
Verbs convey an action. To any of the above list you could append “to” – “to set up”, “to back up”.
Here’s how you would use the phrases:
- To set up your website, go to the admin screen.
- You should back up your website every day.
- Please log in to get access to support.
- He decided it was time to clean up his desktop.
If you want to go crazy you can use them both in the same sentence:
- Proceed to the setup screen to set up your website.
- When you back up your website, you should store your backups safely.
- Go to the login screen to log in.
- You might need some cleanup services to clean up that hacked site.
Hopefully now I’ll never see another misuse of “setup” again. *cough*