Thursday, May 8, 2014

A space between words in an expression

A space between words can change the meaning of an expression. Here are three examples:

Every day vs. everyday

In the sentence, “I walk every day,” the expression every day is an adverbial phrase (an adverb that consists of two or more words – in this case an adjective and a noun). The adverbial phrase every day modifies the verb walk. Namely, it tells how often I walk.

In the cookbook title The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking, the word everyday is an adjective that modifies the gerund baking. Namely, it tells what kind of baking.

Log on vs. logon

The expression log on is a phrasal verb (a verb that consists of two or more words). In this particular phrasal verb, the word log is a verb and the word on is a particle. This particle functions as an adverb; it modifies the verb log. Namely, it changes the meaning from “to record something” to “to establish communication and initiate interaction with a time-shared computer or network.

The word logon is a noun. It is the act or process of logging on, or the credentials required to log on.

Set up vs. setup

The expression set up, like the expression log on, is a phrasal verb. It has many definitions.

The word setup, like the word logon, is a noun. It has many definitions.

The Takeaway: In many expressions (for example, speech writer or speechwriter), a space does not change the meaning. But in many expressions (like the expressions discussed above) it does. You just have to learn expressions one by one, by reading good writing. Keep in mind: If you don’t learn, you will undermine your credibility. You see, when an intelligent reader notices that a writer frequently uses spaces carelessly, the reader concludes that that writer does not read anything but social media and graphic novels, and therefore that the writer is ignorant, and therefore that the writer is not worth reading. So, read good writing.

See disclaimer.

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