Grammar Girl corrects common grammar mistakes.

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Mignon has come up with clever ideas to help even the most grammatically challenged person remember the rules.

Affect versus Effect
As they are most commonly used, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. One way to remember this is to think of the phrase, "The raven flew down the avenue," Mignon says. The words "raven" and "avenue" both have the letters a, v, e and n in them, which can help you to remember "affect, verb; effect, noun."

Correct: On the road trip, Gayle's singing affected Oprah.
Correct: The effect wasn't pretty.

Who versus Whom
According to Mignon, you should use "whom" anytime you could answer the question with "him." This is easy to remember because both words end with m.

Example: Whom do we need to thank?
We need to thank him.

Example: Who is on the show next?
He will be on the show.

Lay versus Lie
Mignon says to remember that people lie and objects lay.

Correct: I lie down on the couch.
Correct: I lay the book on the table.
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FROM: Letters to Oprah 2007
Published on March 26, 2007

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