Monday, February 25, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (part 15)

Many words are confused because of their similarity to one another. Here are a few more:

Affect vs. effect

Wrong: Inflation effects the buying power of the dollar.
Right: Inflation affects the buying power of the dollar.

Affect (verb) means to influence something or someone, as in: “It didn’t affect me at all.” It can also mean to pretend or assume. (“He affected a French accent.”) In contrast, effect—when used as a verb—means to make something happen, such as: “While in office he strove to effect change.” It goes beyond mere influence. (Effect can also be a noun referring to a result, as in: “She had a profound effect on me.”)

Adverse vs. averse

Wrong: He’s adverse to taking risks.
Right: He’s averse to taking risks.

Averse means strongly opposed, while adverse means unfavorable or even hostile. You might be averse to voting for a candidate because you think he might have an adverse effect on the economy.

More next time.


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