The Government Shutdown, or the Government Shut Down?

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As I’ve been perusing the news, blogs, and social networks discussing various aspects of the government crisis in which we are currently mired, I have noticed that many people use “shutdown” and “shut down” interchangeably (or use one variation exclusively—to their detriment). I thought I would elucidate readers.

“Shutdown” is generally a noun.

  • “The government shutdown affects us in many ways.”
  • “The factory resumed operations after a brief shutdown.”

The American Heritage Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, and Merriam-Webster Dictionary agree. Only Collins (does anyone use that?) differs.

“Shut down” is a verb.

  • “The government has shut down because Congress could not reach an agreement on the budget.”
  • “Shut down your computer before disassembling it.”
  • “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
  • “The federal agencies are almost all shut down.”

The federal government may have shut down, but our use of proper grammar must not.


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Tagged: grammar

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