Mind your words

Dear reader,

Have you ever noticed how much some words can sound alike and have a different meaning? It is surprising to me how many people have problems distinguishing between certain words.

For instance affect and effect. Quite often I encounter bits of text (even in edited books) where these two words are mixed up.

It didn’t effect me at all.

This of course is not correct. Something can not affect you, or not have an effect on you. Affect is a verb, effect is a noun. If something can effect you, then don’t be surprised when tomorrow someone will attempt to table you!

The same thing happens quite frequently with then and than.

Joe is bigger then Mike.

Poor Mike, you may think, but then is the word you use when you are talking about things happening over time. Than is the word for comparisons, so Joe may be bigger, but he’s bigger than Mike. But Mike may grow to be very big at some point in time, and then he may be bigger than Joe. I wonder how that will affect Joe…

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