I know that I can be a bit of an over-emotionally irrational vigilante when it comes to things like grammar and punctuation, but I am happy to admit that I get things wrong sometimes. Not very often mind you, but there was, for example, an incident with a badly placed semi-colon earlier this year. However, one thing I am not so happy about is my travails with the difference between 'affect' and 'effect'. I remember very consciously making sure I learnt the difference when I was about 15 or so and I was very proud of my ability to choose the correct option in any given situation*. Unfortunately, after three-odd years of marking the essays of people who did NOT conscientiously figure out the difference between the two words at an age when their brains were still sponge-like in nature (in terms of soakability, not softness or full of holes) has unraveled my once rock solid faith in my ability to use these words. I have seen the wrong one so many times that now any time I see either I assume it must be wrong. I no longer have any idea which is which.
I have not had any coffee today either, but it is still early.
I think I want coffee.
*Yes, I know, a tragic way to spend your time, but who WASN'T tragic at the age of 15? As far as I can tell, the only people who have vibrant social lives at that age end up emaciated, bedraggled, and addicted to Crystal Meth. But they can join one of Jamie Oliver's restaurants, so there is no need to feel sorry for them.