Word Tip: Shut or Close?

Continuing with my desire to help people use the right words so they sound professional, credible, remarkable and compelling to the people they want to serve, today I discuss whether to use the word shut or close.

The idea came from seeing a post on a LinkedIn group I belong to:

“I don’t know if this is regional thing or perhaps it is just me, but I hear television announcers telling us that a certain company has ‘shut, with the loss of x number of jobs.’ I always thought that you ‘shut a door or a window’ and a ‘company would close down.’”

Close has four entries in my dictionary. The listing that matters here is the first entry, of which there are 18 definitions. Several deal with conclusion or bringing to an end; one says “often used with down.”

Shut has two entries, the first of which has eight definitions. Three of these use close as part of the definition. Two others deal with conclusion, cessation or suspension. Both of these have the note, “often used with down.”

I, too, don’t know if it’s a regional thing, but either word works in this example. A company can close, with the loss of x numbered jobs, as well as shut (often used with down.) You also can close or shut a door or window.

The LinkedIn discussion went off on several tangents: The difference between British and American English regarding “different to” (British) and “different from/than” (American) and then the difference between “gone missing” and “went missing.”

But somewhere among the various diatribes bemoaning the end of civilization as we know it came this from Alison Mahnken: ” ‘Close’ and ‘shut’ (often with ‘down’) are equally acceptable, per esteemed M.-Webster (and definitive resource in American writing/journalism).”

leebarnathan.com

By |2022-06-07T00:13:53+00:00June 9, 2022|Confusing Words, Word tip, Writing|Comments Off on Word Tip: Shut or Close?

Word Tip: Lay or Lie?

I like to say I help my clients use the right words to highlight what makes them remarkable and compelling to the people they want to serve. To do that requires knowing what the right words are.

From time to time, I will publish posts that spotlight issues I see people having with word choice, and I will offer tips to help them use the right words.

Today: Using lay and lie correctly.

Lay is an action word: I will lay  the book on the table. The prosecutor laid all the blame on the defendant. Watch the sheriff as he lays down the law.

Maybe this is where people get confused: “Lay” also is the past tense of lie, which refers to a state of reclining along a horizontal plane. Thus,  He lay on the beach all day. NOTE: He laid on the beach all day also is correct.

Other forms of lie: I lie on his bench because I am homeless (present tense); She is lying down on the bed (present participle).

Here’s another place people might feel confused: “Lie” also means to make an untrue statement. When using “lie” in that sense, the forms are I/you/we lie, he/she/it lies, he/she/it /we lied, everybody’s lying.

I’d love to discuss word choice with you. Feel free to contact me so we can explore how I can help you find the right words to help your business.

leebarnathan.com

By |2022-06-07T00:06:22+00:00June 8, 2022|Word tip, Writing|Comments Off on Word Tip: Lay or Lie?

Word Tip: Is it One Word, Hyphenated, or Two Words?

I like to say I help my clients use the right words to highlight what makes them remarkable and compelling to the people they want to serve. To do that requires knowing what the right words are.

From time to time, I will publish posts that spotlight issues I see people having with word choice, and I will offer tips to help them use the right words.

Today: Words that, when written often confuse: Are they one word, hyphenated, or two words?

Here are some examples. See if you see a pattern emerge.

Anyone/any one — One word for an indefinite reference: Anyone can do that. But two words to single out one element of a group: Any one of them may speak up.

The same rule applies to anybody/any body.

Breakup/Break up — As one word, it’s a noun with several definitions, including “the ending of a personal, especially a romantic, relationship.” It’s also one word when used as an adjective. As two words, it’s a verb meaning the act of ending that personal relationship.

Cover-up/cover up — As a hyphenated word, it’s a noun meaning “any action, strategy or means of concealing or preventing exposure.” It’s also hyphenated when used as an adjective. As two words, it’s a verb meaning to place something completely over it.

Dead-end/Dead end — As a hyphenated word, it’s an adjective that refers to something hopeless. As two words, it’s a noun meaning something that has no exit.

Fiance/Fiancee — One e at the end refers to a male who’s engaged. The other refers to a female who’s engaged.

If gender-neutral words are needed, use engaged or planing to marry or something similar.

Hang-up/hang up — As hyphenated, it’s a noun meaning “a preoccupation, fixation, snag, impediment.” As two words, it’s a verb meaning “to fasten or attach so that it is supported from above”or “to end a telephone conversation.”

Letup/let up — As one word, it’s a noun that means “cessation, pause, relief.” As two words, it’s a verb meaning to allow to rise or elevate.

Makeup/make up — One words usually refers to cosmetics. It’s also an adjective. Two words is a verb meaning “to invent, create or reconcile.”

Stand-in/stand in — They mean the same thing: “substitute.” Hyphenated is a noun and adjective, two words is a verb.

leebarnathan.com 

By |2022-06-07T00:00:10+00:00June 7, 2022|Word tip|Comments Off on Word Tip: Is it One Word, Hyphenated, or Two Words?
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