Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Googlings and Marvelings

Man, have I been sick. Not sure if it's food poisoning or a stomach virus. When I did a news search for "food poisoning" (to see whether any outbreaks were in the news), I came across what may be the most jaw-dropping search result I've ever seen. The first hit from my Google search of U.S. news sources showed an excerpt from an organization called the InjuryBoard:
If you suffer from food poisoning, you need to get immediate medical care.
If it continues or there are long term affects you should contact an attorney
...

Contact an attorney. Preferably one whose biggest advocates don't know the difference between "affects" and "effects."

Anyway, I hope to be back to my charming, word-looking-up, sentence-editing self soon. But right now, I have to call this dude whose number I saw on the back of a bus.


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4 comments:

Will Deuel said...

Sometimes I still have trouble with affects and effects, especially since I trained as a behavioral scientist who uses affect as a noun sometimes.

His belligerent affect affected those around him, thus having a negative effect on the group....ARGH!

June Casagrande said...

Sorry it took so long to post your comment! I had to go out of town for a day.

Yeah, isn't that noun "affect" a stinker? I worked in mental health, too, briefly. (Very briefly and certainly not long enough to get mentally healthy.)

I just remember two rules: the "basic" rule and the "curveballs." Basic rule being, of course, that the main form of "effect" is a noun and the main form of "affect" is a verb. But they both come with twists, one of which you left out:

"His belligerent affected affected those around him, thus having a negative effect on those seeking to effect change."

In fact, I bet the most common mistake I see in the "affect"/"effect" realm is, "He wanted to affect positive change."

I doubt that.

Joel said...

It bugs the snot out of me that in having an effect, one is affecting. That's just damned confusing. Damned indeed. I'm not sure it's not the work of the devil.

But seriously, why can't affect be about affect and effect about effect? Can't you fix this for us, June?

June Casagrande said...

I know. It's one of those things that always makes me pity people who have to learn English as a second language. So brutal.

I'd fix it if I could. I sometimes suspect that time will take care of stuff like this. That the language still isn't quite "blended" yet from all its very different ingredients. But that, as people continue to take paths of least resistance, we'll eventually reach a more stable (though never static, of course) state. You know, like as people become less and less inclined to see a reason to write "doughnut" that they'll eventually iron out all those weird edges.

But I'm kind of speaking outside my expertise.

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