Monday, March 17, 2008

36. The AFFECT - EFFECT Disconnect

Hello, again, all of you! I hope you're continuing to practice good grammar all over the place, whether you're writing or speaking. Maybe we can slowly eliminate the bad grammar practices we hear and see daily by modeling Standard English for our friends and neighbors...and maybe even the media will start paying attention to some of these much needed changes! The water won't clear till you get the hogs out of the creek, as we have heard around these parts of North Carolina :-)

Today's lesson addresses a major mix-up we see frequently with AFFECT and EFFECT, so let's tale a look at the differences between them.

Now, both of these words sound very much alike, which is probably one of the reasons we hear them confused so much. They are, however, very different in meaning, so check out the following explanation:

AFFECT is a VERB that means "to cause a change in" or "to influence." Here's an example of its correct use:

Insulting an alligator before you cross stream may AFFECT your health. ( Better get out of the water first !)

EFFECT, however, may be either a NOUN or a VERB, and this, very likely, contributes to even more confusion.

EFFECT used as a NOUN means "result" and here's an example of its correct use:

Passing the time of day with your family will have a good EFFECT on your relationship with them. (But only if everybody is bound and determined to be nice :-)

And, finally, EFFECT is used as a VERB when it means "to bring about" or "to accomplish". Actually, this use isn't as prevalent today as the other two uses, but we still see and hear it at times. Notice the correct use here:

Never drowning in his own sweat EFFECTS a negative opinion from Tom's boss that he's too lazy to work. ( Being lazy as a tarred dog won't work!)

Pretty simple, I hope. Okay, so let's see if you've mastered these little words.

1. Will the cashier's being as slow as cream rising have an (AFFECT, EFFECT) on how many people use that check-out lane at Food Lion?

2. Johnny's trifling behavior at the beach last night (AFFECTED, EFFECTED) changes in my opinion of him.

3. Myrtle's ability to catch more flies with honey than vinegar when speaking to others (AFFECTED, EFFECTED) the Nominating Committee's decision to choose her to represent them .

All right! How did you do? Here are the answers:

1. EFFECT is correct because it is used as a NOUN and means "result".

2. EFFECTED is correct , but this time because it is used as a VERB and means "brought about" or "accomplished."

3. AFFECTED is correct here because it is used as a VERB and means "causes a change in" or "influences."

All right, way to go, all of you Grammar Stars, if you made a perfect score! If you missed one or two or (heaven forbid!) all three, just review the rules above, think about it, and try to apply the rules to some sentences of your own. Never fear. You'll get it! Practice really does make perfect.

Okay, Y'all. Time to finish up and wish you each a wonderful day with much happiness!. Do continue giving me great ideas for lessons and thanks for sharing your favorite grammar peeves. Peace, GG

Saturday, March 8, 2008

35. LIKE, AS, and AS IF : Are they alike?

Hey! Today's lesson reviews problems we seem to have quite frequently with LIKE, AS and AS IF. Have you ever wondered whether to use LIKE or AS in a sentence such as the following?

Marti thinks (LIKE, AS) I do about iced tea - we both prefer a little tea with our sugar...

or...whether to use LIKE or AS IF in a sentence such as this one?

Jeff acts ( LIKE, AS IF) he knows everything there is to know about all 5,000 snakes in North Carolina.

If you chose LIKE in the first sentence, join the crowd of many folks who mistakenly use the wrong verb...

and... if you also chose LIKE in the second sentence, you're there again.

Here's why:

Standard English requires us to use LIKE (and its forms) only as a VERB, such as the one seen in the following sentence:

Kelly and Anthony LIKE to attend all of Brennan and Brady's ballgames...

Or as a PREPOSITION such as the one seen in the next sentence:

Robert drives LIKE a maniac.

That's pretty simple, huh? Just remember that LIKE should be used only as a VERB or a PREPOSITION.

NOW, what about AS or AS IF?

AS and AS IF are SUBORDINATE CONJUNCTIONS when they introduce clauses in a sentence. As we've studied before, a clause is a group of words with its own subject and verb and sentences can contain more than one clause.
In the first example sentence above...

"Marti thinks..." is one clause...

" I do about iced tea..." is another clause...and...

"...we both prefer and little tea with our sugar" a third clause--all in the same sentence.

Our main concern, however, is the second clause that indicates new subjects and verbs are being used in the sentence - not "Marti thinks...". and...

that new clause is "...I do about iced tea..." Since this is also a separate clause, a subordinate conjunction must appear at its beginning - hence, AS is correct, not LIKE. Remember that LIKE is considered just a VERB or PREPOSITION and since you just learned that AS is a subordinate conjunction when it precedes a clause, you know that AS is the correct answer.Well, all right!

Okay. So let's take a look at the second example sentence:

"Jeff acts..." is the first clause...

"...AS IF he knows everything North Carolina" is the second clause.

So how do you prove that AS IF is correct? You should have no problem recognizing that AS IF precedes a clause. It's just that simple! .

Now it's time to give you a chance to show how much you know. Choose the correct answer in the following sentences:

(1) (Like, As) all children, Davy wanted a bike.

(2) Homer and Tony believe just (like, as) their daddy does about the dinner bell always being in tune.

(3) Junior looks (like, as) the hindquarters of bad luck.

(4) That man looks (like, as if) he's been hit in the face with a wet squirrel.

(5) Sally felt (like, as) her boyfriend did about deer season needing to be a national holiday.

Wasn't this easy? Here are the answers:

(1) LIKE is correct since there's no clause following it. LIKE is also used as a preposition.

(2) AS is correct since there IS a clause following it.

(3) LIKE is correct since no clause follows it. LIKE is also used as a preposition.

(4) AS IF is correct since there IS a clause following it.

(5) AS is correct since there IS a clause following it.

My hope is that you all made 100 on this little quiz and will never again make these mistakes! Celebrate!

Well, it's about time to close up shop and rest a spell. Y'all have a wonderful week and be as happy as you can as often as you can. Peace and happiness to all, GG