Saturday, July 5, 2014

Misused Words (1)

Here are three sets of misused words that I encounter too frequently. Three more tomorrow.

Affect and Effect. To “affect” (the verb) means to influence, to help bring about a result. To “effect” (the verb) means to cause something. “Effect” (the noun) means the result.

His lack of preparation affected the quality of his oral argument.

If implemented, the proposal will effect economies of scale.

The new statute had minimal effect on the case law.

A lot and Alot. There is no such word as “alot.” The word “allot” means to allocate; it does not mean “many” or “much.” For me, “a lot” is too informal for professional writing. I prefer a word like “many.”

Compliment and Complement. A “compliment” is an expression of praise or approval. To “complement” is to enhance or improve.

The two proposals complement one another.


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