Tonight I got a mail from Paul at artofblog who suggested an article – “Grammar Cheat Sheet for Bloggers” it´s about the importance of using the correct grammar at the blog. I read the article and it contained a lot of useful information. So I decided to share that useful stuff on my site.
Excerpt from artofblog – Grammar Cheat Sheet for Bloggers
Who or Whom? Data or datum? And why do some people freak out when they see “15 items or less” at the grocery store?
If you’re running a blog, getting grammar right is really helpful. For one thing, it will protect you from roaming gangs of Grammar Nazis patrolling the internet. But more important, it’ll make you a better writer. Your readers will appreciate it, even if they aren’t conscious of why.
This guide will cover those pesky words that we all get confused about from time to time. It will show you the right word to use when you’re clacking away at the keyboard. And above all, it will make your writing clearer.
Just One Small Caveat
The purpose of grammar is not to be 100%, absolutely correct. It’s to make your writing easier to understand. And there are few things in grammar where everyone agrees anyway. What’s more, grammar is constantly changing.
With that in mind, some of these rules skirt the official, unyielding rules of those who believe grammar to be prescriptive. Rather, they reflect how grammar is working today (for an example, check out data vs datum).
This guide won’t necessarily put you in first place on a grammar game show — but it will make your blog posts a lot easier to read.
Affect vs Effect
If you’re only going to learn just one rule from this cheatsheet, make it this one.
Using these words incorrectly is so common that it’s difficult to know what the right usage is when you read it, let alone how to write it. That’s true of effect/affect more than anything. Fortunately, we’ve got a shortcut for you.
The Official Rules
In general, “affect” is a verb that means to have an impact on something and “effect” is a noun, as in the effect of something on something else. However, just to confuse things, “effect” can also be a verb meaning to cause something to happen.
And, to further complicate things, “affect” can be noun, but only very rarely — generally in psychology.
- Affect as verb
- The boy was affected by the trauma he had witnessed.
- Affect as a noun
- The experiment triggered a strong negative affect on the participants.
- Effect as a noun
- The effect of the economic downturn was a depressed job market.
- Effect as a verb
- I hope to effect significant change at my organization in the coming years.
Rules of Thumb
Given the variety of forms these particular words can take, you might still be confused. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut.
Assume that if a verb makes sense, it’s probably going to be “affect.” And if it’s a noun, it’s probably going to be “effect.”
If you’re not sure, try switching in another noun and another verb to see if the sentence makes sense.
Take, for example, the sentence, “The boy was streetcar by trauma he witnessed.” It doesn’t make any sense, since “streetcar” is a noun.
But take the sentence, “The boy was bamboozled by the trauma he witnessed.” It does make grammatical sense, because bamboozle is a verb.
The same goes for effect.
Consider: “The streetcar of the economic downturn was a depressed job market.” Versus: “The bamboozle of the economic downturn was a depressed job market.”
As you can see, only “streetcar” sounds right.