affect or effect

Affect or Effect?

 

2024 Grammar-for-Grownups Top 10

 

Number 8: Affect and Effect

 

This question pops up in almost every #IAAP CAPstone Business Writing Specialty Certificate course, and this semester’s cohort had the same question.

 

Question: “Mandi, is there a trick to remembering when to use affect or effect?”

 

Answer: Oh, how I wish there were a simple gimmick to help us remember when to use affect or effect. Alas, that’s why it’s so tricky; there’s no sure-fire memorable saying to help with this sometimes confusing word choice. And, it’s not as simple as saying affect is a verb and effect is a noun. So, how do we know when to use which word?

 

Below is what I shared with the cohort. It boils down to word substitution—but I’ve found it really works.

 

Effect is a noun. When effect is being used as a noun, it means “result.”

 

One effect of Tropical Storm Bob was closed beaches in Mobile Bay.

 

Translation: One result of Tropical Storm Bob was closed beaches in Mobile Bay.

 

Another way to look at it is if you can put an or the in front of it, use effect.

 

Affect is a verb. When affect is being used a verb, it means “to change or influence.”

 

Tropical Storm Bob affected our vacation plans.

 

Translation: Tropical Storm Bob changed our vacation plans.

 

Life would be sweet if it really were that simple, but here’s the catch. Effect also can be used as a verb. And when effect is a verb, it means “to cause.” [Think of cause and effect.]

 

This new HR policy will effect a change in our organizational chart.

 

Translation: This new HR policy will cause a change in our organizational chart.

 

This word substitution works for me. I’m curious if you have any other memorable tricks for effect and affect—and effect. Please share in the comments.

 

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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Capitalizing Email Subject Lines

Rules for Capitalizing Email Subject Lines

2024 Grammar-for-Grownups Top 10

Number 9: Capitalization with Email Subject Lines

 

This week’s question from the cohort who just completed the eight-week intensive IAAP CAPstone Business Writing Specialty Certificate course deals with capitalization and email subject lines. Participants who participated in the course agreed they saw inconsistencies with the words people capitalized, if any.

 

Question: “What is the rule for capitalizing the first letter of each word in email subject lines, titles of calendar invitations, or printed marketing?”

 

Answer: While this question leans toward being more stylistic than grammatical, consistency is key. During my in-person Write It So They Read It seminars, I encourage people to capitalize the key words in their subject lines with the exception of prepositions and conjunctions. It is the same guideline we generally follow for book titles and printed marketing pieces.

 

Example: Request for Email Examples for November 3

Example: Invitation to Board Meeting Wednesday, May 1

Example: Agenda for Sustainability Meeting

Example: Question about New Payroll Software

 

Note: It’s a preferred practice to include the date or deadline in the subject line if the email is time-sensitive.

 

Another note: Never type the entire sentence in the email subject line. (And, we all know people who still do that.)

 

 

 

 

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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irregardless

Is it “Irregardless” or “Regardless”?

2024 Grammar-for-Grownups Top 10

Number 10: Irregardless

 

We just completed the eight-week intensive #IAAP CAPstone Business Writing Specialty Certificate course. Congratulations to the 48 participants who completed the course requirements successfully! It was my pleasure to work with you and get to know you during our time together, even though most of it was on Zoom.

 

During the final two weeks of the course, we focused on the rewriting phase of the overall business writing process. Participants emailed questions throughout the week, and we answered them during our Friday Feature session on Zoom. We called it the Friday Feature because we featured the grammar, punctuation, and capitalization questions that puzzled some of us. I’ve whittled these questions into a Top 10 list. These were the most regularly asked questions during the course. We’ll begin with number 10.

 

Question: “As far as wacky words, I have an executive who always uses irregardless instead of regardless. Can you please clarify during our discussion on Friday?”

 

Answer: It won’t take long to answer this one. Irregardless is not grammatically acceptable. Don’t use it. Avoid it when speaking, and definitely don’t write it. Regardless is always the acceptable version.

 

Example: I’ll be at the school regardless of what time the student awards program ends.

 

Example: We decided to rent a car and drive to Kansas City regardless of the 11-hour time commitment.

 

Never use irregardless. You’ll notice even your spellcheck rejects it.

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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