Diary of a self-isolator: is coronavirus effecting or affecting things?

Not sure if it’s because of coronavirus or if it’s just me, but reading social media recently I keep spotting these two evil, deceitful little b*stard words – effect and affect – used wrongly. And it’s not surprising because they are so cleverly intertwined that it’s hard to remember which one to use.

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Strict grammarians would shout at me, but let’s keep it simple:

Affect is a verb. Only a verb.**

Effect is a noun. But sometimes it’s a verb.

Affect (v.) means to create some sort of change or new impression.

Effect (n.) means the result or consequence of a change or impression. (In the plural it can also refer to things or objects.)

Effect (v.) means to make happen.

OK: a simple example of each

The coronavirus lockdown will affect our business quite badly.

The effect of the coronavirus lockdown is that our business will suffer. (Due to the coronavirus lockdown even my personal effects have had to be sanitised.)

The coronavirus lockdown will effect an adverse change to our business.

Fancy a short quiz?

Fill in the blanks… answers below.

I was badly ______ed by the loneliness of the coronavirus lockdown.

The after______s of the coronavirus lockdown are going to teach us a lot about ourselves and life in general.

Is it possible to predict the ______s of the coronavirus lockdown and how they will ______ our lifestyles in the future?

Coronavirus lockdown has the ______ of helping supress the virus’s spread, but what ______ does it have on our mental health?

How is the ______ of the coronavirus lockdown ______ing the environment?

The coronavirus lockdown can ______ reactions of many types, but ______s us all in different ways.

A useful mnemonic to help you remember: usually….!!
Affect with an A is an Action
Effect with an E is an End-result
(with thanks to Alex Hemus of Standout Books Publishing Services.)

And there are some more useful tips on how not to get these two little b*stards wrong: click on Grammar-Monster.

Now: the quiz answers:   taaa-daaa!

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I was badly affected by the loneliness of the coronavirus lockdown.

The after-effects of the coronavirus lockdown are going to teach us a lot about ourselves and life in general.

Is it possible to predict the effects of the coronavirus lockdown and how they will affect our lifestyles in the future?

Coronavirus lockdown has the effect of helping supress the virus’s spread, but what effect does it have on our mental health?

How is the effect of the coronavirus lockdown affecting the environment?

The coronavirus lockdown can effect reactions of many types, but affects us all in different ways.

Keep well, stay safe, stay home

…and look after your own effects and the general effects of coronavirus lockdown – don’t let them affect you adversely!

Sz xx

**Except when it’s used as a technical term in psychology and psychiatry, when it can be a noun, too. Let’s not go there today.

 

 

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