Total Pageviews

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You Affect Me with the Effects of Your Writing!

Do you know when to use "affect" or "effect," or do you simply guess each time you come to one of those words in your writing?
An easy way to help with remembering is to know both words can be verbs, but the only one that is ever used as a noun is "effect."  So, if the word is a noun (used as a subject, object of a preposition, direct object, predicate nominative, etc.), then it has to be "effect."

Here's the rule: 

Affect is a verb meaning "to act upon" or "to influence."

     The release of atomic energy affects (influences) the destiny of the human race.

     Did the operation on her knee affect (act upon) her knee?

Effect may be used as either a verb or a noun.  As a verb, it means "to bring about a desired result" or "to accomplish"; as a noun, it means the "result" (of an action).

     Atomic power may effect (bring about) crucial changes in industry.  (verb)

     Its varying effects (results) are difficult to ascertain.  (noun)

     Quiz Yourself:

1.  & 2.  Though eastern Kansas was seriously ___________, the windstorm had little _____________ on the western portion of the state.

3.  Did the new Student Council ___________ any changes in the cafeteria rules?

4.  She realized her speech was not having the proper ________________ on the audience.

     Answers (No peeking!)
1.   affected  (verb -- influenced)   2.  effect (noun -- result)    3.  effect (verb -- bring about)     4.  effect  (noun -- result)

If you have additional sentences about which you would like to ask, please send them, and I'll be glad to help.  If you want additional example sentences, let me know.



Monday, May 30, 2011

Inside or Outside?

Anyone trying to figure out how to punctuate quotations correctly?

Here's the rule for punctuating quotations in your writing, or what I call the "Livin' La Vida Loca" Rule since Ricky Martin sings........♪ Upside, inside, out, Livin' la vida loca... ♪

Place a period or a comma inside the quotation marks. 

      "As a matter of fact," she added, "it's warm enough to swim today."

Place a semicolon or a colon outside.  

      Gloria promised, "I'll certainly go to the dance with you"; however, that was three weeks ago.

     You must admit one thing about deliveries marked "rush order":  they always do arrive, eventually.

Place a question mark or an exclamation point inside when it is part of the quotation -- otherwise outside.

     "Who was that on the phone?" my mother asked.

     "Kill the umpire!" shouted the crowd.

     Didn't you say yesterday, "I'll never be late again"?

     Get out of here with your "I'm awfully sorry"!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


When using "a" or "an," think about sounds, not letters!

Consonant Sound                                                 Vowel Sound

a hectic week (h sound)                                       an hour's delay (short o sound)
a uniform ( y sound)                                            an unusual sight (short u sound)
a mermaid (m sound)                                           an M and M (short e sound --
                                                                                        it's not a "mem," but "em")

*Formerly "an" was used with words like hotel and historical.  Since the "h" is not silent in these words, "a" is now more generally used.  Just remember to think of sounds.

Hope this helps explain the rule about "a" and "an."