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Grammar Refresh: ie & eg, Affect & Effect, Who & Whom

Posted by medliorator on May 8, 2007

WikiHow offers a crash course through common grammar abuses. Excerpts below . . .

ie Versus eg

1. [i.e.] is an abbreviation of the Latin words ‘id est’, which mean ‘that is’. [i.e.] is normally followed by a definition of what preceded it, for example, “the elephant is an example of a pachyderm, i.e., an animal with thick skin and nails resembling hooves,”

2. [e.g.] is an abbreviation for the Latin words ‘exempli gratia’, which means ‘for example’. This abbreviation introduces an illustration of whatever has just been said, e.g., “One thing that will put on weight is a fatty food, e.g., fried dough.”

Affect and Effect

1. Affect is almost always used as a verb. Unless your topic is psychology, you will rarely need to use affect as a noun. Typically, when people want to say that one thing has had an impact on another, they will use the verb affect. For example:

  • It’s hard to say how the price of gasoline will affect the economy in the long run.

2. Effect is almost always used as a noun.

  • It’s hard to say what effect the rising price of gasoline will have on the world economy.

Who Versus Whom

If the answer to the question should be he, then use who. If the answer to the question should be him, then use whom.

  • “Who brought the paper inside?” He brought the paper inside. The correct choice is who.
  • “Whom did the prize go to?” The prize went with him. The correct choice is whom.
  • “Who does Sarah love?” Sarah loves he is clearly not correct, Sarah loves him. The question should be “whom does Sarah love?”.
  • “Whom went to dinner?” Her went to dinner is clearly not correct, she went o dinner. The question should be “who went to dinner?”.

English Grammar [WikiHow]

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