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Dear Editor: Effect Affect and Further Farther Trip Me Up

—(Originally Appeared in Publishers Weekly)— BookWorks’ fearless leader and veteran editor, Betty Kelly Sargent, helps a reader with common words that even the best of us tend to muddle. Read on for a quick refresher on when to use effect affect and further farther. Dear Editor: Could you please explain the difference between effect affect and further farther?  I’m always… [Read More]

Dear Editor: Effect Affect and Further Farther by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

—(Originally Appeared in Publishers Weekly)—

BookWorks' fearless leader and veteran editor, Betty Kelly Sargent, helps a reader with common words that even the best of us tend to muddle. Read on for a quick refresher on when to use effect affect and further farther.

Dear Editor: Effect Affect and Further Farther by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.comDear Editor:

Could you please explain the difference between effect affect and further farther?  I’m always getting them confused and could really use some help.

—Jordy W.

You are not alone. In fact, author and grammarian Roy H. Copperud says that the confusion about when to use effect vs. affect is perhaps the most common error in the English language. So, here’s the difference.

Effect Affect = Noun VerbDear Editor: Effect Affect and Further Farther by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

Most of the time affect is used as a verb, and effect is used as a noun. Affect, used as a verb, means to have influence on“The teacher’s praise affected Adelaide’s confidence.” Some synonyms of affect are: impress, sway, and touch. Affect as a noun is used in psychology to mean emotion, but most of us won’t ever have an occasion to use it that way, so don’t worry about it.

Effect, when used as a noun, means result. “John’s speech had a powerful effect on the audience. But sometimes effect is used as a verb. Then it means to bring about or cause something to happen. “We all need to do everything we can to effect change.”

Now for Further FartherDear Editor: Effect Affect and Further Farther by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

As adverbs, they both mean at a greater distance or to a greater extent, but traditionally farther refers to physical distance—for example: “My house is farther from the playground than yours.”  Further is more of a quantity word used to mean to a greater degreeLet’s look into the problem further,” or “We have no further {additional} evidence to present.”

However, according to www.grammarist.com  “this distinction does not exist in the U.K. or elsewhere in the British Commonwealth, where further is preferred for all senses of the word and farther is rare.”

There you have it. I hope the effect of this description will serve to further your understanding of the differences between these pesky little words.


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