Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wallpapering and Some Grammar

When I started my job back in September, I went a-googling in search of wallpaper for my desktop at work. I came across a wonderful artist named David Lanham who creates magically brilliant and whimsical wallpaper images that you can download or purchase from his website. I have them shuffling on my desktop every 20 minutes.

Every once in awhile I'll flip to my desktop and be amazed by some new detail I never noticed before, like how the blob's belly is translucent so you can see the people he's already eaten, or that there are flies buzzing under the lamp, or that the dog and the bone cast shadows on the moon. Genius.

Download your own here.

Tea for Two by David Lanham
Blob Attack by David Lanham
Space Doggy by David Lanham

Grammars is a few of my favorite things. I was reading an article for work and this sentence caught my eye:

"Interventions included in this review were those that showed evidence of reducing HIV incidence or risk behaviours likely to effect horizontal and vertical HIV transmission."*

I had to reread it because they used the word "effect" as a verb. No one ever uses "effect" correctly as a verb...except these folks. Yes! They really did mean to say "risk behaviors likely to result in horizontal and vertical HIV transmission."

The difference between using "affect" and "effect" here is subtle, and "affect" would have been grammatically correct as well, though possibly not exactly what they meant to say.

If they had used "effect" incorrectly though, for example, if the sentence were "risk behaviors likely to [effect] an individual's chance of acquiring HIV," which is often the way "effect" is used, it just wouldn't make any sense:

"...risk behaviors likely to result in an individual's chance of acquiring HIV." Huh?

Correct use of somewhat obscure grammar rules is so satisfying.

* From Pattanaphesaj, J., & Teerawattananon, Y. (2010). Reviewing the evidence on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention strategies in Thailand. BMC Public Health, 10, 401.

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