Affect and effect: two spellings, four words

[ad name=”Google Adsense 468×60″] Two spellings, four words? Unfortunately, yes. “Affect” is usually a verb, but it can be used as a noun. “Effect” is usually a noun, but it can be used as a verb. Although they come from the same Latin root and differ only by their first letter, their meanings are practically unrelated. The accent on “affect” as a noun is on the first syllable. Both meanings of “effect” and “affect” as a verb have their accents on the second syllable. In speech they sound exactly the same. Both spellings take suffixes, which in turn create new … Continue reading

This is not a subject; neither is that

This is not a subject. What kind of sentence is that? A bad one. Why? Because the subject of a sentence and the object of a preposition or verb ought to be a noun. “This” and “that” are adjectives. Sending an adjective to attempt to do the work of a noun is a kind of bad writing. I had a professor in graduate school who used to bleed red on everyone’s papers, mostly crabbing about the writing. At least once on every paper I turned in, he wrote, “this what?” At first, I thought it was a pretty stupid question. … Continue reading