Archive for November 14th, 2010

November 14, 2010

s or ‘s or s’

Plural and possesive - really not that confusing, pic: http://www.susancorso.com

The s at the end of the word is a source of confusion to many – native and non-native speakers but it is relatively simple once one understands the underlying principle.

An extra “s” at the end of a word generally indicates plural: cat – cats, car – cars, concept – concepts

There is an exception for nouns ending on s, z, ch, sh and x – to make it easier to pronounce those plural forms they take an -es plural form

beach – beaches, fox – foxes,  fish – fishes

Then there are the possessive forms which indicates that someone owns something (it is like the genitive):

“This is Mike,  Jane’s new boy-friend.” (Mike “belongs” to Jane)

“The family’s house has five bedrooms” (the house belongs to the family)”

If the noun already ends on an s, z, or x the possessive s is generally dropped “Charles’ new bike”, “Max’ ambition is to become president”

Lastly, the possessive plural – use the plural form and add the apostrophe: “the singers’ voices are simply beautiful”

There are irregular plural forms of everything, as to be expected – but this covers the vast majority of cases.

November 14, 2010

Word Confusion, part 3

This is a tricky pair because it looks and sounds a lot alike but mean totally different things: affect and  effect.  Affect is usually used as a verb,  effect as a noun.

Nutrition affects your health. Healthy food has a good effect on you. pic: © Nicholas Sutcliffe | Dreamstime.com

Affect as a verb means to have an influence on, or act on as in these examples “the noise from the nearby freeway affected my ability to sleep” or “The massive negative ad campaign did not affect my vote in this election”.  I can also be used to express an impression on the mind and the feelings “the music affected him deeply.”

Effect as a noun means a result or the power to produce a result: “The sound of the falling rain had a calming effect, it nearly put me to sleep.” Effect can also be used as a verb but that usage is fairly uncommon; as a verb effect means to execute, produce or accomplish something, for example “we are working to effect change” or “The speaker’s somber tone effected a dampening in the general mood of the audience.”