I’m not going to hold myself up as a grammar guru or a spelling bee queen – no.
It would be too easy to find an example of where I’ve made a mistake.
For instance the other day I was updating my facebook on my new phone and the autotext chose the wrong stationary/ery and I didn’t pick it up.
So… mea culpa.
But then, I’m not a signwriter, a copywriter, where my mistakes are writ large.
(I am a journalist though so I should bloody know better)
Anyhoo, the other day I was in town and I saw this sign.
I was outraged!
“If your behaviour is EFFECTING your family”
Surely a signwriter would know that “affect” is the verb and “effect” is the noun and therefore in the tradition of other “ing” words – wouldn’t you use the verb.
Jump – Jumping
Run – Running
Shout – Shouting
Affect – Affecting
So indignant, I decided to write this post and to support my argument I thought I’d look up some online resources.
I started with Grammar Girl - a great little podcast by the way – she has a simple tip on remembering which is the noun and which is the verb but didn’t get into adding the “ing”.
Then I discovered that there was a whole website just on the confusion between affect and effect.
And then I got really confused.
And now I think I was wrong.
(I know… hard to believe)
This is what the affect vs effect website says:
So, nearly every time you use the –ing form of one of these words as the main verb, unless the meaning is “accomplishing or producing an effect,” the choice to make is affecting.
An example of when to use effecting is this sentence:
The manager’s new plan was effecting a remarkable change in morale.
But… it still looks wrong to me.
What do you think?
UPDATE: It is wrong.
I wrote to the Standing Committee of Spoken English and got this reply: The wording in the statement you’ve quoted is definitely wrong. Any style guide would discuss this matter. It’s a very common mistake. I practically expect to see the wrong one. Sadly, a lot of journos get it wrong.
From RH on Facebook: “I’ve got the answer in simple terms. When writing a sentence if you can replace the word with “bringing about” you would use “Effecting”. If you can replace it using the word “influencing” you would use ” Affecting”. Therefore the sign is definitely incorrect.”
And from my dad…”The managers new plan was effecting a remarkable change in morale. I was also affected by the plan in that the staff were all smiling at me again!”
So the rant stands!
And I would feel very put out if a sign company allowed it to be printed although I’m sure they would take no responsibility.