Angela’s ABCs Affect and effect

One letter makes all the difference: Affect and effect are frequently confused and I wish I had a dollar, or better still a pound, for every time I have seen them wrongly used. A good way to understand the difference is to remember that affect is normally a verb and effect is normally a noun.

Angela’s ABCs Practice and practise

One letter makes all the difference: Practice and practise, licence and license follow the same rules as advice and advise which we posted last week. Practice is a noun and practise is a verb: ‘When she qualified as a doctor, she joined a general practice in a deprived part of the city.’ noun ‘She decided not to practise medicine any longer in order to become an MP and champion the rights of the marginalised.’ verb

Angela’s ABCs Advice and advise

One letter makes all the difference: Advice is a noun. Change the ‘c’ to an ‘s’ and you have advise which is a verb and pronounced slightly differently: ‘I really value your advice and your opinion is important to me.’ noun ‘Please can you advise me, as I am unsure what to do for the best.’ verb Hint for remembering the difference: ‘ice’ is a noun, so advice is a noun too; ‘is’ is a verb, so advise is a verb too.

Angela’s ABCs: Appraise and apprise

One letter makes all the difference: Appraise means to assess or evaluate. Lose the second ‘a’ and you have apprise which means to inform, notify or advise. ‘I decided to have my father’s war medals appraised by an expert in militaria.’ ‘The expert apprised me of the medals’ value by return of post.’ Having trouble understanding a tricky word? Don’t know whether to use an apostrophe before or after an s? Not sure of your grammar? Ask our word expert Angela, and she’ll get back to you via Angela’s ABCs posts.

Angela’s ABCs Imply and infer

Why do so many people muddle up imply and infer when they have opposite meanings? Imply means to state indirectly or suggest, while infer means to deduce or draw a conclusion. A speaker or writer implies, while a listener or reader infers: ‘He implied in his text message that he was about to dump me.’ ‘I inferred from his text message that he was about to dump me.’