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Sign up, login and login

Salvation! This week on Ask a Teacher, we’re answering a question from Mali.


What are the differences between ” register ”, ” log in ” and ” log in? ”

Thank you.

Kouamé, Mali.


Dear Kouamé,

Thank you for writing to us with your question. These words and phrases are all common when we use the Internet. Sometimes you can use them to discuss activities that don’t require a computer.

Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences.

Log in

Let’s start with the phrasal verb “connection.” This expression means to obtain permission to use a computer system. Login usually requires a username and password. When a user logs in, the computer system keeps a record, or “log”, of the session on the system. We can also use the single word “login” as a name to describe such a session on a computer.


We can use the phrasal verb “to connect” in the same way as “to connect”. But unlike “connection”, “connection” is common outside of the computer world. As part of the security measures in an office building or school, you may be required to provide information about yourself before entering. This could mean writing your name (or “signing” your name) on a piece of paper or showing an ID card. This creates a record of visitors to a place.

Register now

Finally, the verb “to register” means to provide information about yourself the first time you use a computer program or attend an event. You often need to register before you can sign in or sign in to a service. Another expression we use to “register” is “register”.

Here is an example:

I just signed up for an ornithology course!

Sometimes signing up for something involves paying money, while signing in or connecting to something usually doesn’t require payment.

What question to do you have on American English? Email us at [email protected]

And it’s Ask a teacher.

I am Jill Robbins.

Dr Jill Robbins wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in this story

phrasal verbgrammar. a group of words that functions as a verb and is made up of a verb and a preposition, an adverb, or both

sessionm. a period of time that is used to do a particular activity

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