Somebody’s job might be on the chopping block

Can you imagine making these mistakes, which are seen by millions of people around the world, and still keeping your writing job?

personal affects sty

In my day (which was actually many decades ago), you make mistakes like that and you’re told to pack up your personal effects because your job is on the chopping block. Of course, in my day, professional writers knew the difference between affect and effect and knew that people bid on personal effects on an auction block.

The wrong effect

If you learned that affect is a verb and effect is a noun, you learned only part of the lesson about these two often-confused words. The writer for Yahoo! Sports probably learned that partial lesson, too, because she’s a little confused:

affect change mlb

To affect change means to have an effect on change. If you mean “bring about change,” use effect. As a verb effect means “bring about, make happen, or cause.” It’s often used in expressions like “effect a cure” or “effect change.”

How to effect actual change

To effect actual change in the quality of writing at Yahoo! Movies, the site would have to employ competent editors — editors who know when to use affect and effect:

affect change mov

If you learned that affect is a verb and effect is a noun, you only learned half the story. Both affect and effect can be either a verb or a noun. The verb usage of effect is less common than its usage as a noun, but when you need a word to mean “bring about, make happen, or cause,” the word  is effect.

The effect is not good

What’s the effect of using the wrong word? Readers of Yahoo! Travel will probably tell you it affects them negatively:

effect travel

Too much tequila?

Did the Yahoo! Food staffer hit the tequila before pounding out this?

affect food

Alcohol affects the brain; it’s an effect that’s not often good.

Can a good editor effect change?

A competent editor for Yahoo! Finance could effect change, especially here:

affect change fin

You probably learned that affect is a verb (but it can also be a noun), and that effect is a noun but it can be a verb, too. As a verb it means “to bring about, make happen, or cause.”

This may affect your reputation

This mistake on may affect the reputation of the Internet giant:

fp may effect

It’s hard to consider Yahoo! a serious source of information when a mistake like this appears on its home page.

This has seriously negative effects on readers

Using the wrong word can have negative effects on readers. Just consider how this misused word on affects your opinion of the site:

fp affects

This could affect your credibility

Using the wrong word could affect your credibility as a journalist. Just ask the people who write for the Yahoo! front page:

fp could effect

The confusion between affect (a verb) and effect (generally, a noun) is one of the most highly documented mistakes on the Internet. But I guess the folks at don’t read much on the Web.

How it affected their readers

Do you think that the editors at Yahoo! Style know that this is the wrong word and wonder how it affected their readers? Me neither. I also don’t think they care that there’s a bit of nonsense that might be the result of a missing word:

effected fem style

Perhaps the writer meant “or whether they even were feminists.” Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and call that a typo.

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