Miscellaneous Misuses

Shut down, shutdown
Don’t confuse these.

You shut down your computer in anticipation of the firmwide shutdown by the IT department.  On a similar footing, log in and login.

This is like the awful liaise.

Surveil is a misguided back-formation from surveillance, but an ugly and unnecessary one; just say watch or follow.

Well wishes
Where on earth did this expression come from? You wish someone well, but send good wishes. Well wishes awkwardly places an adverb where only an adjective should go.

The partner was impressed by the associate’s memo.

OK, but was the impression favourable or unfavourable? We generally mean impressed in a positive way, but if you think about it the word means that something elicited a reaction, whether negative or positive.

That said, She was not impressed would never be taken to mean neutrality or lack of response. Avoid anyway, not least because it’s a journalistic/Wikipedia-entry kind of word.

The below
For the love of all that is beautiful and true, no!

Please see above (or below) or the paragraph above (or below) would be fine, but the below in reference to something set out lower down is inelegant.

Whatever happened to ‘on’ and ‘about’?
People now say around or even surrounding when a simpler on or about would do. Issues surrounding, questions around, rules around – stop this!

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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