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Anybody building a in that requires users to create accounts is going to face this language challenge. You’ll probably have this language strewed across your entire , from prominent calls-to-action in your homepage hero, to persistent header buttons, to your documentation.

So which is ? “ Up” or “”? Let’s try to figure it out.

With some light internet grammar research, the term “sign up” is a verbal phrase. As in, “sign” is a verb (describes an action) and “sign up” is a verb plus a complement — participial phrase, best I can tell. That sounds about right to me.

My best guess before looking into this was that “signup” isn’t even a word at all, and more of a lazy internet mistake. Just like “frontend” isn’t a word. It’s either “front-end” (a compound adjective as in a front-end developer), or “front end” (as in, “Your job is to work on the front end.”).

I was wrong, though. “Signup” is a noun. Like a thing. As in, “Go up the hallway past the water fountain and you’ll see the signup on the wall.” Which could certainly be a digital thing as well. Seems to me it wouldn’t be wrong to call a form that collects a user’s name and email address a “signup form.”

“Sign-up” is almost definitely wrong, as it’s not a compound word or compound adjective.

The fact that both “sign up” and “signup” are both legit words/phrases makes this a little tricky. Having a verbal phrase as a button seems like a solid choice, but I wouldn’t call it wrong to have a button that said “Signup” since the button presumably links directly to a form in which you can sign up and that’s the correct noun for it.

Let’s see what some popular do.

- s 7B4BB7F5BFF07814A06D1E247E337EDE4405B2DEEB0B2C11AC5CA4BC22F72388 1538750944521 Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 7 - Sign Up vs. Signup | CSS-Tricks

Twitter goes with “Sign Up” and “Log in.” We haven’t talked about the difference between “Log in” and “Login” yet, but the difference is very much the same. Verbal phrase vs. noun. The only thing weird about Twitter’s approach here is the capitalization of “Up” and the lowercase “in.” Twitter seems giant enough that they must have thought of this and decided this intentionally, so I’d love to understand why because it looks like a mistake to my eyes.

- s 7B4BB7F5BFF07814A06D1E247E337EDE4405B2DEEB0B2C11AC5CA4BC22F72388 1538751660844 Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 8 - Sign Up vs. Signup | CSS-Tricks

Facebook, like Twitter, goes with “Sign Up” and “Log In.”

- s 7B4BB7F5BFF07814A06D1E247E337EDE4405B2DEEB0B2C11AC5CA4BC22F72388 1538751943961 Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 8 - Sign Up vs. Signup | CSS-Tricks

Google goes with “Sign in” and “Create account.” It’s not terribly rare to see companies use the “Create” verb. Visiting Microsoft’s Azure site, they used the copy “Create your account today” complemented with a “Start free” button. Slack uses “Sign in” and “Get Started.”

- s 7B4BB7F5BFF07814A06D1E247E337EDE4405B2DEEB0B2C11AC5CA4BC22F72388 1538752410022 Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 8 - Sign Up vs. Signup | CSS-Tricks

I can see the appeal of going with symmetry. Zoom uses “SIGN IN” and “SIGN UP” with the use of all-caps giving a pass on having to decide which words are capitalized.

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Figma goes the “Sign In” and “Sign up” route, almost having symmetry — but what’s up with the mismatched capitalization? I thought, if anything, they’d go with a lowercase “i” because the uppercase “I” can look like a lowercase “L” and maybe that’s slightly weird.

- s 7B4BB7F5BFF07814A06D1E247E337EDE4405B2DEEB0B2C11AC5CA4BC22F72388 1538769086730 Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 12 - Sign Up vs. Signup | CSS-Tricks

At , we rock the “Sign Up” and “Log In” and try to be super consistent through the entire site using those two phrases.

- s 7B4BB7F5BFF07814A06D1E247E337EDE4405B2DEEB0B2C11AC5CA4BC22F72388 1538769365435 Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 12 - Sign Up vs. Signup | CSS-Tricks

If you’re looking for a conclusion here, I’d say that it probably doesn’t matter all that much. There are so many variations out there that people are probably used to it and you aren’t losing over it. It’s not like many will know the literal definition of “Signup.” I personally like active verb phrases — like “Sign Up,” “Log In,” or “Sign In” — with no particular preference for capitalization.



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