Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Madame Language Poisson Fishes For The Right Word

Affect. An action. To have an effect on.

Is it possible to affect the misuse of these words, or will I just drive myself crazy trying?

Effect. A noun (thing).  A change that is a result of a cause.

The likely effect of this lesson will be to cause any reader who is not already aware of the proper usage of these words to stick his/her tongue out at me. Metaphorically. Or in actual fact.

To create.

In order to effect complete change in this area, it would be necessary to change the English language. 

Well, damn, that was so unhelpful that now I'm confused. I don't have any neat mnemonic tricks for this one, it's too tricky (and I didn't even get into the less common meanings). My only advice is to read more. That's the only way I can keep this silly language straight. 

Commenters? I know there are several of you who are dying to weigh in. If you can do a better job of explaining this is a way that's easy to remember, I'll redo the post.


1 comment:

l i s a said...

so, you know what? after a long day of flying back from the east coast last wednesday, i actually commented on this. clearly, i was sleep-deprived enough that i didn't do it right, which likely means that my snarky comment wasn't as funny as it seemed at the time. it did, however, have to do with the line "several of you who are dying to weigh in." i couldn't believe that there were others interested. looks like i was wrong, based on the multiplicity of comments i see here.

and on the actual topic--good job with the explanation. i usually say something about how affect is usually the verb and effect usually the noun. nice and oversimplified, huh?

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