Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grammar War VI: First and Foremost

I've been remiss in helping to expose the illiterate as of late. It's time to fix that.

1. The difference between "capital" and "capitol" - CAPITAL is either a noun or an adjective while CAPITOL is just a noun. As a noun, CAPITAL is a financial word indicating a net work or a stock of useful assets, or is a city serving as the seat of a government. An an adjective, CAPITAL refers to something that is the worst or the most prominent or important (CAPITAL crime, CAPITAL ship) or, yes, an upper case letter. A CAPITOL is an actual building which contains a seat of government. Example: the morons traveled to the CAPITAL and conducted their legislative arguments in the CAPITOL.

Subtle, I know. Get over it.

2. The difference between "affect" and "effect" - AFFECT is a multi-function word, being a noun, verb, and transitive verb all rolled up into one. For the sake of this rant, however, we'll concentrate on the transitive verb, as that's where most people make their mistake. AFFECT means to produce an effect upon. EFFECT is both a noun and a transitive verb. Again, to avoid too much confusion, we'll concentrate on the noun. EFFECT is the end result. EXAMPLE: The weather's AFFECT on traffic led to the EFFECT of gridlock.

Again, very subtle. Eat it.

3. The difference between "principal" and "principle" - PRINCIPAL is either a noun or an adjective, both of which indicate a chief of some kind. As an adjective, PRINCIPAL refers to something of the utmost importance (similar to capital), while the noun refers to the person in charge. PRINCIPLE, meanwhile, is a noun indicating something fundamental or primary. Example: The school PRINCIPAL often reminded his illiterate students of the PRINCIPLE of education. That is, to say, you need one (an education).

Words you probably don't know:

facile - easily accomplished or attained

jussive - a word, form, case, or mood expressing command

parol - word of mouth


  1. Always good to know you are out there, listening and reading, to make the world a safer place for us all.

    And other than 'facile', I think you made up those other words.

  2. Gerard Rodrigue at 8:30am July 15

  3. Cowboy up, and demonstrate the use affect and effect in all their forms.

  4. ..Awesome. I love it. I thought I was the only one who cared about matters of this kind.........And so far, no invites to the late show, but I am patiently waiting. When this comes to pass I will certainly let you know :o)..

    Posted by Jerzy Jung on July 24, 2009 - Friday - 10:37 AM