Inner is an adjective.

June 3, 2007

I hate it when I give bad information. I feel guilty, even after I correct my mistake. The other day a friend called and wanted to know if inner office should be hyphenated. I said, incorrectly, that since inner was a prefix, it should be closed up, inneroffice. I was thinking interoffice and intraoffice, so why not inneroffice? No, inner is an adjective, so it stands alone before a noun (unless it appears different in your dictionary of choice).

My friend then admitted she has used inner office as a verb, as in, I inner officed the email. I told her you can make a verb out of any noun, and since it was an informal email, it was ok.


The “always true” tense rule for subordinate clauses

January 13, 2007

If a subordinate clause is expressing a statement that is always true, then the clause should be in present tense, regardless of the tense of the main clause.

The ball rolled down the hill because gravity is a constant.


File under typos

December 20, 2006

One numeral can make a huge difference. For Longmont, a missing “1” is worth $10 million. Every year, the Longmont City Council passes an ordinance formally setting the property tax rate for the coming year. For 2007, the rate is 13.42 mills, the same as this year.

But a typo in the ordinance the council passed Tuesday night means the city would collect only $3.4 million in property taxes next year, rather than $13.4 million. That’s because the “1” was dropped, making the effective tax rate 3.42 mills.

The mistake will be fixed during an emergency council meeting this afternoon.

“I told them, as soon as we have a quorum, we do it, and I’m out of there,” Councilwoman Mary Blue said Thursday. “It’s very unusual.”

The majority of the city’s tax revenue comes from sales taxes, not property taxes. But a $10 million hole in the city’s $183.2 million budget would have presented significant challenges for city officials.