Constance M. Steen - Office/HR Manager and Safety Officer

Constance M. Steen - Office/HR Manager and Safety Officer

Ms. Steen has been working in the field of environmental consulting since 1977. She specializes in client services, office management and administration, project assistance, editing, document production, human resources, and safety.

Mar
25

What in the world is a compound modifier?

When two words act as one to modify a noun, they become a compound modifier.  For example: 

The deep-draft vessel went aground in the harbor.

As used here, neither deep nor draft could stand alone to describe vessel, so the term is hyphenated to indicate that they used as a single unit, or a compound modifier.

Sometimes, however, a compound modifier should not be hyphenated.  When the modifying term contains an adverb ending in “ly,” there is no need to add a hyphen because the “ly” lets the reader know that it is part of a word pair modifying a noun. 

See the explanation from section 7.86 of The Chicago Manual of Style:

Compounds formed by an adverb ending in -ly plus an adjective or participle (such as largely irrelevant or smartly dressed) are not hyphenated either before or after a noun, since ambiguity is virtually impossible.  (The -ly ending with adverbs signals to the reader that the next word will be another modifier, not a noun.)

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Jul
10

Log In vs. Login

This term is always a problem and it seems that most people want to use “login” exclusively. 

As a verb (shows action), use two words:  log in

As a noun or an adjective, use one word:  login

Source:  https://writingexplained.org/log-in-or-login-difference

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Dec
13

Is “Data” a Singular or a Plural Noun?

In modern writing and speech (e.g., newspapers, magazines), the word data is often used with a singular verb.  However, datum is the singular form of this noun and needs a singular verb (e.g., is, was) and data is the plural form, which requires a plural verb (e.g., are, were).  Although this topic has been debated at length, the scientific community tends to prefer the stricter interpretation that data is always to be treated as a plural noun.

Data = Plural

Datum = Singular

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Nov
02

What Is the Difference Between an Acronym and an Initialism?

An acronym is a word derived from the first letter (or first few letters) of several other words.  A prime example is SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus).  Other examples are NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and NOLA (New Orleans, LA).

An initialism is an abbreviation that uses the first letter of each major word in a phrase but does not form a new word.  Rather, the actual letters are pronounced.  A couple of examples are EPA for Environmental Protection Agency and FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Click here for Merriam-Webster’s take on these terms.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/whats-an-acronym?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=wotd&utm_content=promo

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Jul
12

GRAMMAR: Me, Myself, and I

Good grammar is important in business dealings, whether spoken or written.  Here are a couple of guidelines to help you communicate effectively.

Reflexive Pronouns:  Me, Myself, and I

When you’re unsure of whether to use me or I in a sentence that includes you and at least one other person, just think of how you would use it if you were talking about only yourself. 

          Incorrect:      Will you please make hotel reservations for John and I?

          Correct:         Will you please make hotel reservations for [John and] me?

          Correct:         John and I need you to make hotel reservations for us.

Myself is correct only when you are the subject and the object of the sentence and you are emphasizing the action.  The sentence below is correct, but would be fine without myself.

Correct:         I made the reservations myself.

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Aug
11

Is “Data” a Singular or a Plural Noun?

 

 

Data

In modern writing and speech (e.g., newspapers, magazines), the word data is often used with a singular verb.  However, datum is the singular form of this noun and needs a singular verb (e.g., is, was) and data is the plural form, which requires a plural verb (e.g., are, were).  Although this topic has been debated at length, the scientific community tends to prefer the stricter interpretation that data is always to be treated as a plural noun.

 

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May
19

Word of the Day: Throes

Ok, so it’s not a very common word, but don’t confuse “throes” (which means to be in severe pain or in the midst of an agonizing struggle) with “throws” (which means to toss or propel something through the air).

EXAMPLES:

I won’t be able to meet you for lunch because we are in the throes of a large proposal.

In baseball, a pitcher throws balls to the catcher (and hopes the batter doesn’t hit it first).

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