Yes, I’m peeving

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.29.42 PM“Login” is a noun. Step 2 here should read “On the event date and time, log in and join…”

I see “workout” regularly misused in the same way (at my gym, for example).

And yes, it causes me that peever’s wince, brings out my inner 8th-grade-English teacher (which, as a side note, is not so much of a stretch, in that I now do, in fact, teach 8th-grade English.)

As Dictionary.com helpfully explains:

Many who are neither professionals in the computer field nor amateur tech enthusiasts condemn the use of the solid form login as a verb, and with reason. It doesn’t behave like a normal verb. You cannot say you have loginned, and you are never in the process of loginning. Moreover, you cannot even ask someone to login you; you must ask that person to log you in. Clearly, it is the two-word phrase log in that functions fully as an English verb and not the solid form. Normally, we would expect log in, the verb phrase and login, the noun to behave in the same way as similar pairs: blow out/blowout, crack down/crackdown, hang up/hangup, splash down/splashdown, turn off/turnoff, where the two-word phrase is a verb and the one-word form a noun.

‘And yet,’ concedes Dictionary.com, “this gluing together of terms like login, logon, backup, and setup as verbs is common, especially in writing about computers.”

This is the great conundrum (for me, at least) of descriptivism; how long do you hold the line and insist that “login” is a noun and “log in” is a verb phrase, before you give up (not giveup) and admit defeat?

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