Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An epidemic of bad "effects"

One more replay of a post just restored from the 5/12 Blogger outage: 
A grammatical toggle switch gone bad is affecting the blogosphere.  In the last 24 hours [as of 5/12], we have

a) Jonathan Chait:
Democrats have been arguing that their tax increases should solely effect income over $250,00 a year.

b) Ezra Klein:

[Glenn Hubbard says:] "The economics argument is that marginal tax rates effect work, entrepreneurship, savings, investment.”

Okay, that one's in a quote, minus sic. But are all Klein's interviewees suffering from the same tic? A bit further down the page:

“Marginal tax rates effect behavior,” Barro continues. “That’s uncontroversial.
c) Andrew Sullivan (you can see why this one caught my eye...):
Andrew Sprung is in related territory when he mentions that "many more baby boomers will reach age 65 (or 67, or 69) than did their predecessors," which will effect the dependency ratio.
Is there a movement I'm unaware of to effect an erasure of a nettlesome distinction?


  1. And this affects you how?

    Just kidding.

  2. A few weeks ago Kevin Drum (or James Fallows?) had a discussion of some common language mis-use issues. Affect/effect, 'enormity', insure/ensure/assure all show up in poor writing.

    Those writers claim the language is 'evolving'. I think it's an excuse for sloppiness.

  3. aw, they're all excellent writers - just lack the proofreading infrastructure to which more traditional media is subject.