The Effect Of The Confusion Of When To Use Affect And Effect Is Affecting My Brain

Affect v EffectI had a request to write about affect and effect. Since I’ve had trouble with those words in the past myself, I completely understand how confusing they are! Dictonary.com defines affect as a verb (used with an object) meaning:

  • to act on; produce an effect or change in:

Cold weather affected the crops.

  • to impress the mind or move the feelings of:

The music affected him deeply.

  • to give the appearance of; pretend or feign:

to affect knowledge of the situation.

  • to assume artificially, pretentiously, or for effect:

to affect a Southern accent.”

It is also defined as a noun meaning feeling or emotion.

Effect is defined as a noun:

  • something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence:

Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin.

  • power to produce results; efficacy; force; validity; influence:

His protest had no effect.

And as a verb (used with object):

  • to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen:

The new machines finally effected the transition to computerized accounting last spring.

So what does that mean really? Affect is usually used as a verb to mean to influence or change. Effect is either used as a verb meaning to bring about or as a noun meaning the result or impression. Which would you choose when you hear “The wine didn’t have quite the affect/effect she was hoping for”? Some of these are so close that either could be correct, so you need to dig just a little bit deeper. First, you need to decide if it is a verb (an action word) or a noun (the name of a person, place, object, idea, quality, or activity). “The wine didn’t have quite the [action] she was hoping for.” So the verb definitions are affect to influence or change and effect to bring about. Would you say “The wine didn’t have quite the influence or change she was hoping for” or “The wine didn’t have quite the bring about she was hoping for.” The correct word is affect.

“The new paralegal was affecting/effecting the morale in the office.” The paralegal was creating an action on the morale in the office so was the new paralegal influencing or changing (affecting) the morale or was he bringing about (effecting) the morale? It should be affecting.

“The uncertainty in the legal market affected/effected attendance at the conference.” The uncertainty influenced or changed the attendance or the uncertainty brought about the attendance? Here, it would be affected.

One more for good measure: “The ruling in this case will affect/effect future door-to-door sales.” Will the ruling influence or change sales or will the ruling bring about sales? This should be affect.

We’ve done some practice with affect/effect as verbs, let’s try one as a noun. “The affect/effect of the storm damage won’t be known for some time.” Is it the feeling or emotion of the storm damage that won’t be known or is it the result of the storm damage that won’t be known? It should be effect.

These two words are very confusing. If it will help, copy the chart below and keep it at your desk for a quick reference:
Affect Effect

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

This past Wednesday marked the two-year blogiversary of Proof That blog. When I started posting, I wasn’t sure thereBlogiversary 2 would be an audience or how long I would have enough material to continue. Thanks to all of you who send me some of the greatest Grammar Giggles ever, tell me you love the blog when I have no idea you even read it, and send me ideas for topics, Proof That keeps going. There are lots of things that could be improved–I could get back on a more regular schedule, I could post more guest posts (hint, hint!), I could, I should, I would . . . but at this point in my life/career/can’t-keep-my-dang-hand-down volunteerism I’m doing the best I can and Proof That seems to be making at least some kind of impact. What more could I ask for? So when all is said and done, I’m pretty damn proud of this little blog and I hope you enjoy it and learn at least a little something every once in a while. Here’s to at least a couple more years of Proof That! I couldn’t do it without YOU and truly can’t thank you enough for your support! KEEP PROOFING!

 

Grammar Giggles – Porcelian . . . Porcel . . . Tile

While dragged along to Home Depot recently, I saw this sign. Then I saw several others for the same type of tile that were spelled the same. At least they were consistent (and consistency is important)!

 

Home Depot

Either Or . . . Neither Nor . . . Connecting Singular Words and Plural Words and the Right Verb

Either orThere is some confusion over whether to  use a singular or a plural verb when using the famous connectors oreither . . . orneither . . . nor, or not only . . . but also. Here is a quick rundown that should help.

If you are connecting singular words using oreither . . . orneither . . . nor, or not only . . . but also, the subject is singular, so you would use a singular verb.

  • Either Mary or Patsy is working overtime tonight.
  • Neither peanut butter nor jelly is in my cupboard.

Note that it is now also acceptable to connect more than two words using the connectors above.

  • Neither paper nor toner nor a manual was included with the new printer.

If you are connecting two or more plural words using oreither . . . orneither . . . nor, or not only . . . but also, the subject is plural, so you would use a plural verb.

  • Either books or magazines are available in the doctor’s office.
  • Neither beans nor noodles are in my cupboard.

When you are using a mix of singular and plural words connected with oreither . . . orneither . . . nor, or not only . . . but also, the verb should agree with the nearer part of the subject.

  • Either a diamond necklace or pearls go with that evening gown.
  • Either pearls or a diamond necklace goes with that evening gown.
  • Neither the boss nor the workers expect to work late.
  • Neither the workers nor the boss expects to work late.

I hope this helps. Do you have a topic that continues to confuse you? Either leave a comment below or email me at proofthatblog@gmail.com and watch for a future blog post trying to make that topic easier to understand.

Grammar Giggles – Michigan State is Accurate–or Not!

This one was forwarded to me by my sister. Again, in my view educational institutions are held to a higher standard–even the sports programs. In fact, since all the money is going there instead of the arts, I hold them to an even higher standard!

 

Michigan State

Grammar Giggles – Spelin Aword

My nephew sent this to me. Since I know him and read his Facebook posts, I’ll assume this isn’t HIS award, but it would certainly seem to be disheartening to those who earned an award like this.

Spelling award