Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Shudder vs Shutter: Are You Closing or Quaking?

Once in a while, I get caught in my own grammar trap, when a reader points out a misspelling or misuse of a word in one of my posts. This week’s grammar discussion is a perfect example.

When I recently wrote about blogging trolls, I told you about a blogger who did a beautiful job of acting like a troll, and suggested that he must have done it to enough people to make someone a little too angry. The result of this was threats being made against him and his family, and him shuddering his blog.

One of my regular readers, Cathryn, was quick to catch this mistake and asked if I meant that he’d shuttered his blog. She was absolutely correct.

Shuddering means shaking or trembling with a sense of foreboding.
Shuttering means closing or blocking something out.

If you’ve ever looked at a window from the outside of a building, you may have noticed shutters, the covers that are almost always open and for display purposes only, but that can be used to close off the window. If you’ve ever looked inside an old film camera, you’ll spot the shutter, the little door that opens briefly to expose the film and capture a moment.

If you’ve ever been really terrified of something, or very cold, you may have shuddered because of it. You may shudder at the thought of a particularly unpleasant idea, although that seems a bit overly dramatic when you think about it.

If you close something down, you shutter it, meaning you block it off, close the doors. So when that blogging troll I wrote about decided to pull the plug on his own blog, apparently after ticking off the wrong person with his foolishness, he shuttered his blog.

I’ll try to keep that in mind next time I use either word!


  1. P.S. Patrick, your share bar has no Twitter address in it, just a huge url for the blog post. You might like Shareaholic, my fave, as you’re already using my fave, Livefyre.
    Thought I’d let you know as you have no idea who’s tweeting your post as it does not land in your stream.

    1. Soulati | Hybrid PR I actually do use Shareaholic, which is located immediately after the last line of the post. The share buttons you mention are included with the theme itself and I’m working on a solution for that. I may have to snip some code; thanks for the suggestion, though.

    1. Soulati | Hybrid PR I’ve written about “your” vs. “you’re” before and it’s one of my pet peeves, too. The overuse of “that” also bugs me. I’ll add that to my list of future grammar posts.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.