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October 17, 2011


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Is the verb actually "failover" or "fail over"? It would make sense to me to say that a system failed over to the backup, but not that it failovered to the backup. I wonder if it's like "login" where everybody writes the infinitive as one word, even though it's pretty clearly two in other situations.

You can find "failover" as a feature name, if not a brand name, in something like SQL Server 2005 Failover Clustering (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?DisplayLang=en&id=19736).

@Jonathon: RIM spells it "failover," but I assume they'd use "failed over" for the past tense.

Personally, I prefer two words for "log in" (verb), but I realize it's a losing battle.

@Jonathon -- there's a strong tendency for people to mash together verbs that have associated prepositional bits. As you say, "to login" is one example; in my own work, I very frequently also see "to setup" and "to backup." I've also seen "to warmup," "to passout," "to turndown," and "to workout."

re: "to fail over" specifically, some old (and edited) content on the Microsoft site (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189134.aspx) pretty consistently uses "failover" as a noun or adjective, and "fail over" as a verb. (One example: "Allow one failover cluster node to fail over to any other node in the failover cluster configuration.") Your logic is correct to my mind (for example, people write "to setup" but they don't write "she setups"), but I think that ordinary writers don't necessarily think this sort of thing thru all that carefully.

"I think that ordinary writers don't necessarily think this sort of thing thru all that carefully."

Good point. I guess that's why they pay us to edit, right?

Coincidentally, June Casagrande of Grammar Underground addresses "login" v. "log in" in a new blog post: http://www.grammarunderground.com/?p=1260

Also backup/back up, signoff/sign off, and other pairs ... but not failover/fail over.

I admit I'm late to the party, but this status report from a Web host seems like a pretty good example of "fail over" in the two-word variety.


Note that the URL differs from the title; as the situation progressed, the title was updated, presumably for the benefit of RSS subscribers.

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