Affect or effect?

Most of the time, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. However, this is only a “most-of-the-time” guide, since affect can at times be a noun and effect can at times be a verb. But, instead of confusing the issue with exceptions that are rarely used, I’ll concentrate on the most common uses. Affect is almost always a verb meaning “to influence or change.” Use it this way: “Will this affect my performance review?” Effect is almost always a noun meaning “result.” Use it this way: “We need to address the effect of your behavior.”

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Link to entry

Now in Toastmaster magazine

An article that you may have already seen here on my website, originally titled The Competitive Spirit, has been published in the April, 2008, issue of Toastmaster magazine (p.7). Now titled Don’t Wake Up Too Soon, the article explains that Toastmasters’ speech contests are not about titles or trophies. Instead, they are the fastest route to the greatest improvement. This article was one of nine on my Resources page available for reprint with my compliments. After the magazine has been circulated, I will re-post it on that page. But in the meantime, watch your mailbox for the April issue. Remember, you saw it here first.

Read all entries in In The News
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Link to entry

Get paid like Bill Clinton?

In an article titled Be Like Bill Clinton--Make Big Money Giving Speeches, posted this morning on, I’m quoted twice, along with fellow professional speakers Tom Antion and NSA Vice President Philip van Hooser. Though we can’t tell you how to make $52 million as President Clinton did since 2000, we do provide insights into how you can make money as a professional speaker. 

Read all entries in In The News
Posted Tuesday, April 08, 2008 | Link to entry

Can it be “truly unique”?

A blog-azine subscriber, Jerry Dunn, politely and correctly called to my attention a usage error I had posted in my entry that is now titled “Now, this is unique.” Originally, the item was titled “Now, this is truly unique.” (Don’t look for the mistake--I’ve already corrected it.) Jerry wrote ”unique can’t be modified--it’s either unique or it isn’t.” He further explained, “so-called ‘incomparables’ are words that express absolutes and therefore can’t be used with comparatives (such as more) and superlatives (such as most).” Jerry added, “other examples of absolutes are eternal, equal, and fatal.” He’s absolutely right, and I wish I had caught it, except for the fact that my error gave me another teaching point. Jerry is the author of The National Geographic Traveler: San Francisco. I can’t say it’s truly unique...but I bet it’s worth a look.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Friday, April 04, 2008 | Link to entry