When should you use login, log in, or log-in?
It’s very common now to refer to technical issues and advice in writing, especially in articles and blog posts.
The first step in many help topics is using a username and password to access a site or service.
But which one is the correct word to use?
Login is a noun, and log in is a verb
Even though it’s a technical term, the grammar is the same as similar verb and noun forms.
For example, setup and set up. The first is a noun, and the second is a verb.
Others include, comeback and come back, handout and hand out, or turnover and turn over.
Words like these use a prepositional or phrasal verb. It means that the verb consists of a root verb plus a particle.
In this case, LOG is the root verb, and the preposition IN is the particle.
When you use the verb form, it is always log in.
But when creating a noun, the two words become one, or less commonly now, use a hyphen.
So login or log-in are the correct phrasal noun forms of the verb.
Once you know the difference, it’s easy to get it right every time.
Let’s look at some examples of login versus log in to help you.
How to use log in as a verb
When you are giving instructions in a piece of writing or a how-to article, you need to be careful.
Always check to ensure that you are using the verb form correctly.
It’s quite easy. If it follows the subject of the sentence or an auxiliary verb, log in is a verb.
Another tip is if you use the infinitive form, to log in, it’s always a verb in two words.
Here are a few quick examples.
Once you log in, you can access your user dashboard.
When you load the app, it will ask you to log in.
You can log in using any device.
For security reasons, you will need to log in each time you use the site.
If you can’t log in, you may need to reset your password.
If you are unsure, a good tip is to use a synonym such as sign in to see if it works.
The first time you
log in sign in, you will be asked to choose a strong password.
Then you can be sure you are using a verb and not a noun.
Login is a noun or adjective
Simply put, if it’s not a verb, it’s a noun or, more often, an adjective.
You can see a typical login screen in the image above. But notice that sign in is a verb because it is an action.
The noun and adjective form of login is in one word.
The hyphenated form, log-in, like e-mail, is rarely used now. If you choose to use it, you can only use it as a noun.
Let’s look at some quick sentences using a noun or adjective.
Once you complete your login, you can access all the features of the site. (noun)
A failed login occurred. Was it you? (noun)
After five unsuccessful login attempts, your account will be locked. (adjective)
If you forget your password, the login screen has a link to reset your password. (adjective)
Do not share your login credentials with anyone. (adjective)
Related verbs and nouns
If you are writing on a topic related to accessing sites, apps, and services or Internet security, you will naturally use connected words.
The most obvious ones are the direct opposites, to log off or log out.
Both use the same grammar, so you can use either the verb or noun forms.
The same goes for print out and printout.
But be careful with log into and sign into. They are both correct alternatives, but these can only be verbs.
Another related word is reset. It is a verb, noun, and adjective.
You need to reset your password. (verb)
Please perform a reset. (noun)
A password reset link is located at the bottom of the form. (adjective)
Lastly, you will almost always mention the action verb to click.
You can use it by itself or with the prepositions, on or into.
Click the help button.
You can click on the help link.
To copy, click into the address bar.
Writing about technology is very popular with article writers and bloggers today.
However, your grammar knowledge is equally as important as your technical know-how.
Sure, you can rely on a grammar checker to help you find errors in your writing.
But it’s always better to know the rules so you can be 100% sure you are correct.
There are many phrasal verb computer terms, so it pays to know how to use them correctly.
A bit like Superman and is it a bird, is it a plane?
Ask yourself, is it a verb, is it a noun, is it an adjective?
Then your grammar use will be perfect.
Related Grammar Reading: Double Negatives In Writing Are Not Always A Mistake