Archive for January 11th, 2010
I’m not usually one to believe in conspiracy theories, but I think I have one here and I know who’s behind it. After I out them here, I may need to go into hiding. Ready? What I want to know is when did the word “effect” get replaced by the word “affect?” Seriously, what in the world is “cause and affect?” I know what you are thinking… YES, you are losing sleep over this too, aren’t you?
Let’s start with the definitions. In a nutshell, “effect” refers to a physical response, while “affect” refers to an emotional response. So in physics, I can comfortably suggest that most of the time we are talking about “cause and effect.” By the way, please go to your own favorite [real] dictionary and look up the words. I insist. A good scientist doesn’t work from second hand information when a primary source is available.
Now keep your eyes open. You are going to see the word “affect” in countless places where it does not belong. I am seeing it in science textbooks and news articles and it makes me nuts. We may have to start burning books people.
Personally, I blame Microsoft, and I have evidence to support my claims. Go into Word and type the sentence: “The wind didn’t effect the speed of the car.”
Did you try it? Did Word tell you that effect is the wrong word choice and you should use affect? There is no emotional portion of either a car or the wind. How many writers, textbook editor, and students get their grammar lessons from Microsoft? Perhaps we are trusting the company a little too much. I know, you are getting nervous now.
So my theory, and it seems pretty sound from my safe house here in [deleted], is that Microsoft is performing social experiments on our beloved language. I mean, what the frak, Centurians can’t be far behind.