I love those crabby and humorous grammar sites that list the nuances and rarely recognized punctuation rules as reminders to . . . who exactly? Other crabby grammar soldiers who battle daily to right the incorrect use of homophones (specifically contractions) and proper comma placement.
While grading student work, I came across this sentence, “How does smoking effect the lungs?” I wondered, “Should I explain the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ to a 12-year-old non-native English speaker?”
- I couldn’t hold back:
The main differences of effect and affect are:
To affect something is to change or influence it, to effect something is a rather formal way of saying `to make it happen’. Confusingly, because either may produce an ‘effect’ or result this is a common error.
2. Here are more grammar, vocabulary and punctuation observations, annoyances and appreciations. Many stem from interacting with more Australians and Brits at an international school:
- End quotation marks: Apparently, the British always put the punctuation outside of the quotes, whereas Americans were advised that when a sentence ends with a quote, the end punctuation is included inside the quotation marks.
Example: Air quotes are the original low tech “memes of their day.”
- Learnt: Americans, sub out the -ed for a -t in similar words to sound more British.
- Heaps: Americans, use this word to sound more British or Australian.
Example: I have heaps of quinoa that I found after a year of searching so decided to hoard it.
- Full Stop vs Period: Americans, let’s start using Full Stop instead of Period, for obvious reasons.
- Jumpers, lollies, brellies, brekkie, trollies, Chrissy, thongs . . . all adorable Australianisms. They’re even more adorable when you hear them in conversation with a grown Australian man.
Example: “I left my wooly jumper in Adelaide since I now live in tropical Jakarta.”
- Adverb abuse: Literally, Totally, Honestly, Hopefully, Exactly . . . Naturally
- Healthy vs. Healthful
- Evacuate: The Wire kicked off a controversy
- I couldn’t care less: If you could care less, don’t mention it.
Do you have any favorite grammar, spoken language rants or appreciations to share?