Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Whenever the question of 'affect' (to act on, produce an effect or change) and 'effect' (that which is produced by some agency or cause) is raised at work, I am absolute resolute in my uncertainty.

Today at work we also encountered the question of 'proscribed' (denounced or condemned) and 'prescribed' (appointed, ordained, enjoined) 'burns'. What, exactly, is the difference between 'prescribed burns' or 'proscribed burns'? We are of course in bushfire season, so most burning would be 'proscribed'. But then, sometimes firies like to do controlled burns of areas in order to cut fires off - 'prescribed burns'. In these circumstances, is the prescription proscribed, or the proscription prescibed? On this question, my absolute uncertainty is ambiguously definite.

And I couldn't help wondering out loud, when the inevitable question of 'affect' and 'effect' was later raised at work, whether the affective proscription of effects was to be prescribed, or if the effective prescription of affects was to be preferred.

If anybody could take a minuet or to to proscribe an explication for this difficult questing, I would be infinitively great full.


Maria said...

When I was at journalism class, our teacher tried teaching us he difference between "ensure" and "insure". She then decided to throw "assure" into the lesson as a distinguisher.

She tehn said "are there any others?"

And someone proffered "unsure"

So we learnt that.

She said, ok that's it, until someone pointed out she'd forgotten "onshore".

Recently I have seen on a blog of commenters who are very vehement about the importance of intellectuals and well-educated people (thinking themselves to be in the elite class)

the misuse of "complements" and "compliments"

and a guy who believes that Malcolm Turnbull is correct in criticising the $42bn spending spree of Rudd, and says it will be better spent on education, but he believes Turnbull will end up "towing the line" to be popular.

I can see now why the commenter would want more education and where it could be well-spent!

TimT said...

I'm sure your teacher was reashored by all your helpful additions! And probably took out an unsurance policy, too.

flipsockgrrl said...

Effecting an affect may perhaps be preferred -- but better implied, never inferred.

TimT said...

All this eff-ing and aff-ing has me hm-ing and haw-ing, I tell you!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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