06/05/2014 03:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Can't Remember If It's 'Effected' or 'Affected,' Hence Your Blog Post Has Impacted Me Greatly


I wanted to tell you something meaningful about that very well-researched and insightful blog you posted yesterday. I got going on a really nice response in the comment thread, you know something not too show-offy but also not simply an angry, mindless rant designed only to provoke. It was moving along perfectly. Intelligent, with a touch of witty sophistication that would mark me immediately as your intellectual equal.

And then I got to the part where I needed to express how your piece had affected me. Or effected me. Damn it, I can never remember which one of those to use. So I just stated flatly that you had impacted me greatly with your blog post, and I don't even think you can legally use impacted that way, and now I feel like a fool.

"Please," I can hear you chastising me from cyberspace, "Why didn't you just Google it?" Believe me, I did. And I got sent to a dozen different grammar websites where the explanations for when to use effect and when to use affect all blended into one another, to the point where even when they gave examples of proper usage in a sentence, it still didn't make any sense.

And it wasn't all me, either. I know it. I'm a reasonably smart person, and I swear there was something screwed up about the wording they use to explain this stuff. Go on, Google it yourself! Get caught in that M.C. Escher lithograph of circular logic and see how you like it! Believe me, you'll come away as confused about this vexing grammatical issue as I did. Don't kid yourself.

Anyway, what I meant to say is that your inspiring bit of writing really rang true. It seemed to relay a universal issue to which we can all relate. It brought to light something we encounter almost every day, even though no one has taken the time to truly delve into its perplexing and frustrating nature. To put it another way, what you said was very effecting. Although it may also have been affecting. Either way, it was certainly as impactful as they come.

Keep up the good work.

More of James Napoli's comedy content for the Web can be found here.