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


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Grammar Guide said...

Hello! Thanks for the comment and for the info about your blog. Will take a look. Have a great day! GG

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