Is it TAKEOVER or TAKE OVER? The answer depends on your meaning.

Good writers recognize the difference between words that should be written as verb and adverb (separately) and compound nouns or adjectives created from those separate words.  Examples include SET UP and SETUP, FOLLOW UP and FOLLOWUP, BREAK THROUGH and BREAKTHROUGH, PAY OFF and PAYOFF.

Here is another one that appeared incorrectly as part of a headline in this morning's Birmingham News.

State superintendent emphasizes action is to probe, not takeover


 TO PROBE is an infinitive created by putting TO in front of the present tense form of the verb.  The second verb should be TAKE followed by the separate adverb OVER. For good parallel structure, TO should also be part of what comes after NOT.  The headline should read this way: 

State superintendent emphasizes action is to probe, not to take over



 I hope Birmingham Board of Education members can put aside their personal agendas and work with Alabama's new state superintendent to improve the climate for education in our state's largest city. The children of Birmingham deserve that.


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