Login vs. Log In

I often have to explain to clients why two “versions” of the same word appear in the text I provide to them. To some, it looks like an error to use “login” and “log in” or “backup” and “back up” in the same document. But it’s not an error. Why the differences? “Login” and “backup” are nouns or adjectives, whereas “log in” and “back up” are verbs (or, if you want to get technical, verb phrases). So:

I use my login to log in.

I back up my computer to my backup drive.

That “log in” and “back up” need to be two separate words when used as verbs becomes immediately clear when you think of them in the past tense.:

I logged in (NOT I logined)

I backed up my hard drive (NOT I backuped)


I logged out (NOT I logouted).

So, if you’re adding a prompt or a button to your website to ask people to log in, it should say “Log In,” not “Login” (and ditto for “Log Out”).

Most of the big sites (PayPal, Google, eBay, Facebook) get this right, but many do not. Have you got it right on your site?




My book: The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home

There’s been The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home by Christina Newberrysome media attention recently for my book, The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home, so I thought I would provide some information here. It’s packed with great information for families with adult children living at home or planning to move home. It’s available in an eBook format that you can read on your computer, iPad, or other device at www.adultchildrenlivingathome.com (where you can also find a great blog with loads of free information and resources). If you prefer a book that you can put on your bookshelf, you can buy a copy  here.


Here’s all the key info:

The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home by Christina Newberry

Second Edition published June 2012 by Nuru Guides
Available at www.adultchildrenlivingathome.com

Comes with a downloadable family contract template and budget calculator.

Avoid errors by giving your online marketers a style guide

I saw this Google ad in my GMail window today:

Asphalt Paving – www.curtispaving.com – Patches, Driveways, Parking Lots. Call the “Zar of Tar” 604-922-2314

I was intrigued enough to check whether this company really does not know how to spell a word (czar) in its tagline. I clicked through to the website and saw this:

Vancouver writer and editor - tar tagline

So, the company knows how to spell czar properly, which is a relief. So how did a non-word (zar) end up in the Google ad? My guess is the ad was created by a marketing person who had only ever heard the slogan, and had never seen it written down. Is that possible? If an external person was hired to create the ads, it certainly is.

So, how can you avoid having key words like those in your tagline misspelled in your online advertising? Create a style guide for all external (and internal) personnel to use. It should include your preferred spelling of any words that are important for your business, as well as entire phrases that really matter. (For instance, the tagline here — and a registered one, at that — is “The Czar of Tar,” not “The Tar Czar.”) Even if the marketing person had not created a non-word, he or she could still have used the spelling “tzar,” which is not incorrect in general, but IS incorrect when your tagline uses a different spelling. You’re paying for the work, and for the clicks, so you might as well get it right!

Articles, articles, articles

Apparently I’ve been a bit of a slouch lately when it comes to blog posting, at least here. I’ve been much better about posting on my other blog at Adult Children Living at Home. But I haven’t been a slouch about writing! Here’s a list of some of my recent articles, if you want to find out what I’ve been up to!

Plus, new stock photography is up at Dreamstime.

For more regular updates, you can always follow me on Twitter.

Sometimes wordplay is just not appropriate

Wordplay can be a great tool for the clever writer. A nifty play on words makes your writing more memorable, and can bring your readers a laugh. But sometimes it’s just not appropriate, as in this headline from Global BC, a local news outlet in Vancouver:

Convicted killer convicted of killing killer wife in Surrey

The gist of the story is that two people who had both served jail terms for murder were married, and the husband has just been convicted of killing the wife. But come on. That headline is too cutesy, too playful to be used in a murder case. It’s disrespectful to the woman who was killed, who, regardless of what she may have done in the past, was a human being, and was apparently murdered by her husband. The headline implies that the whole thing is kind of funny. Global, murder ain’t funny. Badly done.

Further, a headline’s main job is to tell a reader what the story they’re about to read is all about. Headlines should be digestible at a glance. This head-scratcher fails on that count, too.

Proofread, please, please, please!

I admit it: I go on and on about how important proofreading is. I generally focus on the importance of avoiding errors in business communications. But proofreading is important in your personal communications, too — especially for those times when we still invest the money to put ink to paper and actually send something in the mail. I can only imagine the anguish of the bride who received her wedding invitation set with these spelling errors.

You can click through to see larger images, but the first card says “Celebrtation” instead of “Celebration,” and the RSVP card says “celbrating” instead of “celebrating.” Remember that many online forms, such as the one the bride would have used to create these invitations online, do not have a built-in spell-checker function. You must carefully check your work before hitting the submit button!

Safety walk in bathtubs?

Let me start by saying that I don’t know why Gmail is showing me ads for walk-in tubs (maybe it can tell how hobbled I still am from the major hike I did on the weekend?), but good heavens, this ad has a lot of errors crammed in to one small space:

Safety Walk in Bathtubs – www.PremierBathrooms.ca – Easy Entry, Low Door, Comfortable Schedule a In-Home Assessment

Questions this raises:
1. Why would I want to take a safety walk among bathtubs?
2. How does a bathtub give me a comfortable schedule?

Here’s the corrected version:

Safety Walk-In Bathtubs – www.PremierBathrooms.ca – Easy Entry, Low Door, Comfortable. Schedule an In-Home Assessment

I’d take out most of the capital letters, too, but some people like them.

A freelance travel & lifestyle writer/editor in Vancouver, B.C.