I always mix them up. Even though I know the difference, I mix them up. Actually, it’s my fingers that do. My brain knows the difference. The fingers do not. The difference between brains and fingers is brains care, fingers don’t.
The effect is misused words. The affect is to get me slapping my head afterwards when I realize I’ve got the two mixed up again. Wait a second … maybe that’s not right. The effect is that I’m affected in such a way that I end up slapping my head.
Oh, I dunno. It’s all very confusing.
It drives me crazy. I erred again last week. I read something I had written and published last week and as I was going merrily along admiring my mastery of language I suddenly saw something like, “The affect was a welling of tears in the sad ma’ns eyes.” Something like that. And even as I write that, some part of me is going, “Are you sure that’s wrong? Maybe that’s right.”
Did I write above that I knew the difference? I don’t know. I probably never did.
I hate these two words. Who dreamed them up? Who do we write to in order to complain?
These words are a balls-up looking for a place to happen. And more often than not, they find that place.