Maddenation

kath in da house

I am finally online. I just got the info tonight. For those of you living in the southern hemisphere or at Notre Dame, I got a job. Yes, it’s true. Your sister is employable after all. (Laughter)

I’m working as a long-term sub as a special-ed English teacher. Isn’t that awesome, Pat? We’re both English teachers!!! So, please explain the difference between affect and effect as verbs. Thanks. I am excited, I actually had a good week. And starting Mon., I get $129/day. That’s a lot of moolah.

Just one question, where’s the picture of me? And email me the answer or tell me how to find out here. I haven’t yet read the instructions.

In the words of Patrick, “I love you all so much.” (Hey, English teacher, isn’t that grammatically incorrect?)

love and hugs

KathleenNews02/28/03 7 comments

Comments

Patrick • 03/01/03 12:19 AM:

Great job! (That has a double meaning, I just realized.)

I went ahead and cleaned up your entry a bit (fixed misspellings, typos, added italics and some other things). Please read the instructions posts (just for my sanity’s sake; I want to make this site crisp and clean; nothing wrong with personal stylings, but there’s stuff we should all do “correctly”). If you have any questions, ask me.

effect (v.): to make a change (takes a direct object, usually “a change”).

affect (v.): to influence.

(That’s off the top of my head; I’m sure there are fancier ways of explaining.) Both affect and effect are verbs and nouns. The easiest way to remember the difference, especially for high school kids, is that nobody ever uses the verb version of effect or the noun version of affect. If you affect something, the result is an effect. Basically, in common usage, affect is the verb and effect is the noun. I haven’t studied their etymology, but I am betting they’re really just two variations of the same root word (noun and verb) and some grammar stickler in the late 17th century tried to fasten these differences to them (and was successful!). Ah well. Best to use them correctly anyway.

In other news, I added several hyphens to your entry, but left your comma splice unrepaired (can you find it?). And I don’t think “I love you all so much” is grammatically incorrect. Lots of brushing up to do, eh? (But your students won’t know.) And yes, it’s awesome that we’re both English teachers. Really!

Dad • 03/01/03 1:55 PM:

The problem with “I love you so much” is that it doesn’t tell you how much that is. In my day, that phrase was an introduction to a further description, as in: “I love you so much that I’m going to burst.” Also, sometimes as kids we’d say, “I love you this much” and spread our arms as wide as they could go. Or an adult would ask, “How much?” and we’d go, “This much” with the arms stretched out. That’s OK in conversation when you can see the other person, but doesn’t work in writing without additional explanation.

The English I learned to speak would say, “I love you very much,” because “very” was taken as an intensifier. It seems to me the word “so” is used more often as a connector (we were out of milk, so I went to the store) or to represent a whole phrase (Have you got your coat? If so, let’s go outside). “So” does have many meanings, and some of the minor ones could be synonomous with “very”, but why not reserve “so” for the many functions it does so well? We have other words to intensify our feelings. So, how about it? Are you with me?

David • 03/01/03 7:59 PM:

No really,

That’s all very interesting.

David • 03/01/03 8:00 PM:

for me to poop on.

Patrick • 03/02/03 5:22 PM:

Ah, yes. I remember that explanation now. I guess I’m torn. Part of me (the purist) wants to agree, but another part of me (the linguist) says that language is alive and grows and is ruled democratically, by common consent, and if the word so has grown to be an intensifier, and many people understand it, then it’s the communication that matters, not the rule.

I find it hard to justify this sentiment with my stickling for other words like presently or affect/effect or proper usage of me and I. But that’s just the way things go. Back to Emerson: “Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.”

So?

Dad • 03/04/03 11:15 PM:

Patrick,
I think what you describe could be called “language entropy” in which meaning (order) degrades over time into “like, y’know?” (valley girl speak).

Kathleen,
sorry to take up “your space” with these comments to each other, but you started it.

Ralph Waldo,
when you said “hard words” did you mean, like, words that have clear definitions that don’t change over time according to the whims of the maddening crowd?

Patrick • 03/05/03 12:46 AM:

You may be referring to:

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

from Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, and taken as the title of one of Thomas Hardy’s novels. According to bartleby.commadding here has the sense ‘becoming mad, acting madly, frenzied’ (O.E.D.), rather than maddening.”

And, if I may speak for Ralph Waldo, I think you’ve hit upon one possible interpretation of “hard words” but not the only one, eh?

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