I have long been amused by the apparent distinctions between Closed and Shut. Have you ever seen a shop that was shut for lunch? In America, I suppose that would be a store not a shop. I think in Australia and probably England they are always closed.
But shut is so much nicer a word. I think that maybe the Latin-based words sound more professional/educated and that's why people use them. The meeting commences instead of starts. Sad really. Start is a nicer word again.
Of course, with shut and with close, any preposition attached to the verb can change the meaning. But shutting down a business is much the same as shutting up a business, yet should they not be opposites, or at least different? You have to chop a tree down before you can chop it up. We shut off a valve, but when we shut down a valve, we probably have no intention of putting it back into service any time soon. In most cases, I like to avoid the preposition altogether. But sometimes it can be helpful. "When does this business close?" implies today, but "when does this business close down?" suggests it is ceasing operation. Shut in this case is much the same.
And let's not get into the intransitive invitation to shut up. Although perhaps now I should.
Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
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