Some more writing tips for authors


In this post, I would like to address a few errors that I often see in writing.

  1. “Affect” vs. “effect.” “Effect,” written with an “E,” is a noun. It is a result of something. For example, “Lung cancer is an effect of smoking.” However, “affect,” with an “A,” is a verb. It means to cause something to happen. For example, “Smoking negatively affects the lungs.” The best way to remember the two spellings is to remember that “affect” is an action, and both “affect” and “action” begin with the letter A.
  • “Immigrate” vs. “emigrate.” I have to admit that I had a hard time with this one until recently. One immigrates to a country and emigrates from a country. For example, if a person leaves Canada to come and live in the US, this would be written as “She emigrated from Canada and immigrated to the US.” The trick for this one is to remember that “emigrate” and “exit” both begin with the letter E, and when one emigrates from a country, one exits that country.
  • The use of the word “adult” as a verb. I have seen this in several Facebook memes: “I don’t want to adult today,” or “Realizing you have food at home is part of adulting.” The word “adult” is either a noun (“He is a young adult,”) or an adjective (“The children could not watch the adult movie.”). It is not a verb. (This is one of my major pet peeves, so I had to restrain myself while writing this paragraph.)

Lastly, I wish to discuss the use of “suicide” as a verb. Until a few years ago, I did not know that the word could be used as a verb. I was first alerted to this by a doctor who told me that her patient’s daughter “suicided” ten years ago. This unfamiliar grammar (as well as the plight of the poor mother) struck me almost immediately, and it was only recently that I looked it up in Merriam-Webster and was surprised to see that the faithful dictionary acknowledged that “suicide” can be a verb. I learn something new every day.

**EDITOR’S NOTE: I will be away from the blog for at least the next week while I tend to matters involving my aging parents. Thank you for your understanding.

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