Sunday, February 26, 2012

Affect v. Effect

            True Confession of an English teacher with a master’s degree: Affect v. Effect makes me go Arrrrrrgh!  They are two truly evil twins of the homophone family that never cease to give me the cringies when compelled to teach.
            Here’s the deal:  Affect should be a verb and Effect should be a noun.  But Noooooo!   Effect has to be stubbornly peevish and fill in for a verb meaning "to bring about."  Example: Some say greenhouse emissions have effected a change in the environment. 
            I rue the day when I attempt to explain this horrible little truth to my middle school students and see that lost, fazed, clueless look on their faces as if to say Why have you abandoned us, Ms. Dana, and taken all literacy logic, common sense, and rules with you?  That’s when I drop the big grammar bomb akin to Santa Claus isn’t real: The English language is rife with counterintuitive, subversive, pesky little deviants, as I sheepishly write the following on the board:
            Example: Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present! 
            And this is where the true confession part comes in.  Sometimes I have to think about affect v. effect.  Because that thorny little exception to the rule trips me up, too.  That’s when I pull out the extra worksheets and have a little intervention, remediation session with myself until I’ve mastered proficiency.  Resulting outcome - The affect of effect affects me ineffectually, thereby effecting ill-affected affection effective immediately. 

            Take that, English Grammar Zombie Goblin Boogeyman!!!!

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