Thursday, December 3, 2009

The definitive way to tell the difference between "affect" and "effect"

Man-oh-man - I screw up this one all the time myself.  It's weird because I've noticed that over the past few years I've developed blocks in connection with memory skills that I never used to struggle with.  For instance, phone numbers I dial all the time I still can't commit to memory, nor do I know my car's license plate number even though I've had to write it down a few times over the past three years.  Learning the names of new students, especially, (and remember the names of former students) has become much more difficult over the years.  Several years ago I also noticed that I began mixing up "affect" and "effect" even though I used to use them correctly without giving it a second thought.  It's as if I suddenly and without explanation became self-conscious about using these words correctly and that led me to "unlearn" something which had previously been second nature.  Have I run out of RAM?  Is my memory getting weaker?  Or is this some sort of psych-job I'm pulling on myself? 

Anyhow, this post from our good buddy Raymond Ward over at the (new) legal writing blog offers some great advice for keeping these words straight.   Here's what the good Mr. Ward says:

It’s easy to confuse the words affect and effect. I’ve seen some tipsters suggest using affect when you need a verb and effect when you need a noun. That will work most of the time. But occasionally, affect is a noun and effect is a verb. 

And I'm especially grateful to Mr. Ward for directing me to Roy Peter Clark's post called "8 Tips to Help You Master 'Affect' and 'Effect.'"  Perfect!.

I am the scholarship dude.


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Affect is both a noun and a verb.
Effect is both a noun and a verb as well.

Posted by: mw | Dec 4, 2009 5:37:38 PM

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