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I was working on a user manual and I want to write that a particular action would result in user being logged out of the system. I'm wondering whether the sentence should be "The action would log the user out of the system" or "the action would log out the user from the system".

  • "The action would log the user out of the system" is fine, though in a technical context, it sounds awkward. Alt: The title correctly uses the word logout whereas in the body you have used the phrase log out. "The action would logout the user from the system." is fine, not lot out. – Kris Oct 28 '13 at 7:11
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    Actually it's the other way round. The title is wrong, the body is correct. Logout is the noun. The verb is log out. – RegDwigнt Oct 28 '13 at 9:55
  • @RegDwigHt: edited the title accordingly. – user1439090 Oct 28 '13 at 10:03
  • The phrasal verb log out might not be of the same type in the two given sentences, so both sentences might happen to be acceptable. This master's thesis, which delves into phrasal verbs pretty deep, should find some of the ELU users tickled enough to want to dignify this question with a proper answer, perhaps after some additional research. I'd like to be the one, but I don't have the time. At least not today nor tomorrow. – Talia Ford Oct 28 '13 at 23:01
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The action would log the user out of the system

reads well (assuming "the action" is clear from the context) and I don't think it is particularly awkward.

The action would log out the user from the system

does not look right to me. To illustrate the point, consider this parallel construction:

The fence will keep the fox out of the henhouse.

The fence will keep out the fox from the henhouse.

The first line reads well but the second line does not.

This question might be helpful -- it is a discussion of variations of login and log in.

Grammatically, "log out" is a phrasal verb. Paul Brians' excellent Common Errors in English Usage has a detailed description and many examples.

Also (and I realize this part is not really an answer), you could consider rephrasing the sentence to avoid awkwardness. For example, it might be possible to say something like "The action would terminate the user session" or something like that.

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