I’ve been proofreading Dan’s writing for five or six years now. Recently, he made a confession to me. I was shocked.
After 20 years of writing for a living, he still rolls the dice and guesses whether affect or effect is the correct word to use in any situation. I catch him using the wrong one 80 per cent of the time.
Affect is the verb. It means to act on or produce an effect or a change in.
Effect is the noun and means a result or a consequence.
I’ve recently found a handy trick that should help Dan remember. Mignon Fogarty, creator of Grammar Girl and the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network, suggests thinking of a big black raven. Mignon says raven has the letters A-V-E-N in it, and those stand for: Affect: Verb Effect: Noun.
To help you remember, you could use the image of Dan ducking to escape the raven every time he uses one of these words.
Wendy Wood, proofreader
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