Dilemmas of the English Language

           How many of you know English?  Well, if you think about it, it’s a stupid question – for many reasons.  One, everyone knows English in the sense that they’ve heard of it.  Two, majority of the world speaks some form of English.  Three, you might know someone named English.  (Hey, it’s not impossible considering some of the names people are giving their children nowadays, for example, “Little Pixie” or “Sage Moonblood”.  Yes, people, these are actual names.  I feel SO bad for these kids when they grow up.  “Hey, Pixie!”  “Yeah, Moonblood?”)
Moving on, my question was actually referring to the technical side of English.  Many of us speak and/or write English, but how many of us truly know?  I don’t know about any of you, but personally, I still have trouble with a few of the grammatical aspects and tend to avoid the use of certain words, despite being born in an English speaking country, speaking, reading and writing English.  (It’s the only language I know fluently.)
The words I try to avoid using, unless I’m positive I’m using them correctly are: affect, effect,  who and whom.  There are others, but I’ll stick to these four.  I took Latin (as a language – DEAD language) in High School, so I was kind of forced to learn the differences in order to use the proper form of a word, but it never stuck with me so when I left the classroom it all flew out of my head.  That may also have something to do with the fact that most of my Latin classes were at the end of the day, but I won’t go there.
The point of this post is really to ATTEMPT to explain the differences to anyone, WHO like myself have difficulty with their usage.  Now, how many of you love me?  Although, more of you probably hate me for making you sit through this – which by the way, I’m not making you sit through anything, you’re doing this willingly. ^_^

Okay, so “Affect vs. Effect”:

First off the definitions.

Affect used as a verb (a verb is a word that is or shows an action.  For example, “running”, “jumping”, “run”, “jump” are verbs.) means “to influence”.

Here’s an example of the word “affect” used as a verb.  MARY’S LACK OF SLEEP AFFECTED HER PERFORMANCE ON THE SAT’s.  (Because Mary didn’t have enough sleep it INFLUENCED her test taking abilities.  Total bummer, maybe next time she’ll sleep earlier, but you get the point?)

Effect used as a noun (a person, place thing or idea – Yeah, I know it’s such a vague definition, but it is what it is) means “result”.


Mary’s poor grades on the SAT’s RESULTED from her lack of sleep.

It’s pretty much the same sentence, just different forms of the word; one uses a verb, the other a noun.

Effect can also mean to “bring about” or “cause” in its verb form.  As in, THEY COULD NOT EFFECT CHANGE UNDER THE NEW REGIME.  They couldn’t BRING ABOUT change because of the new big bad meanies.

You know the saying “Cause and effect”?  Well, I guess it could be “To effect and effect”, verb and noun, since the verb form of “Effect” means “to bring about” or “Cause” and the noun form means “result”.

Okay, well those two are complete, now onto “Who vs. Whom”

In all honestly, these are the ones I have the most trouble with and I have no clue how to explain it to anyone.  SO!  I googled it and happened on to Sparknotes.com!  And they said…

Who is a subject pronoun; it is used as the subject of a verb. Whom is an object pronoun; it is never used as the subject of a verb.”

Which is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t really explain much.  Then, they go on:

“If you can’t get who and whom straight, try this trick: rephrase the sentence to get rid of who or whom. If you find you’ve replaced who/whom with he, she, or they, who is correct. If you find you’ve replaced who/whom with him, her, or them, then whom is correct.

For example, suppose you have the question Who/whom is the most famous A-list star eating lunch at Elaine’s? Rephrase it: She is the most famous A-list star eating lunch at Elaine’s. Since you’ve used she, you know who is correct in the original question: Who is the most famous A-list star at Elaine’s?”

(In  case you would like to check my source, here is their link : http://www.sparknotes.com/writing/style/topic_187.html )

So I hope this helps, if it only confuses you further..I’m REALLY sorry.

For a little bit of personal news, I’ve been writing for Willful Wisdom again (well, really I’m trying).  I’m on page 124 now and the chapter’s almost complete.  Hopefully it’ll be posted soon, but then I really have to get back to doing my homework because class starts again tomorrow morning at 9:30 sharp!  If any of you are around, check it out and definitely leave your opinions/comments/suggestions.  ^_^

By the by, the username had been changed back to “Priscilla Shay”.


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