Words of Confusion Wednesday

Today’s confusing words are “affect” and “effect”.  I see this one interchanged a lot when I edit or beta read.  Even though they are spelled correctly in the manuscript, spellchecker may or may not pick up on the discrepancy because they are very close in  meaning but yet they’re not.  I hope to help clear up a bit of confusion.

Affect is most commonly used as a verb, and it means to cause change in some way.

Example sentences:

The cold weather affected the crops.

The music affected her dreams.

Affect can also be used as a noun, though it is not very common.  It means ‘to show little emotion’

Example sentence:  

She showed little affect when she won the award.


Effect is usually used as a noun and it means “the result or outcome of a cause; a person’s immediate personal belongings.

Example sentences:

His speech had a profound effect on me.

The girl collected her effects before leaving work.

Effect can also be used less commonly as a verb, meaning “to bring about”

Example sentence:

“His words effected a riot.”


I try to remember a sentence like the following when remembering which one to use:
The words affected the author deeply; however, they had no effect on the agent.


Okay…that’s it.  I hope I helped to clear up a little confusion.  Happy writing.  See you next Wednesday with more words of confusion.

Words of Confusion Wednesday

Ok.  I’m starting something new.  Words that confuse us when we write.  I mean, let’s face it. The English language is probably one of the hardest languages to learn because words have so many meanings, not to mention they have sound alike, but not spelled alike, twins.  For example, today’s confusing words:  peek, peak and pique.  All sound alike, all can do and mean different things.


Peak as a noun:  refers to the pinnacle of a hill or mountain.    “The hikers arrived at the peak at sunset.”

Peak as a verb:  it means to reach a maximum.  “His speed will peak at 130 miles per hour.”

Peak as an adjective:  “His peak speed is 130 miles per hour.”


Peek as a noun or a verb means to glance or have a brief look.


Pique, as a noun means a sense of wounded pride.  “More is at stake than just personal pique.”

Pique as a verb means to excite, arouse or irritate.  “The manuscript piqued the editor’s interest.”


I hope you visit every Wednesday for more Words of Confusion.  Until next time…



I is for Its (or is it It’s?)

This is a continuation of the A-Z blog challenge.  Click here to see the list of all 1935 participants!

“It’s a beautiful ocean and I’m going to play in its waves!”

Two of the most widely confused written words are in the above sentence: it’s and its. I see the words mixed-up a lot when I beta read. Most of the time, it’s simply a mistake the writer didn’t catch. Sometimes, though, people don’t know the difference between the two. I’d like to try and help clear up the confusion.

What is the difference between it’s and its? It’s simple:

It’s is the contraction for “It is” or “It has”.

Its” shows possession, and always modifies the primary noun in the sentence so you don’t have to repeat it.

For example:

IT’S (It is):

“It’s raining again.” = “It is raining again.”
“It’s a silly play.” = “It is a silly play.”
“It’s my favorite sandwich.” – “It is my favorite sandwich.”

ITS (possessive):

“The cat licked its paw.”
“Its petals fell to the ground.”
“I haven’t seen its kind in many years.”

Like ‘yours’, ‘ours’, ‘his’ and ‘hers’, an apostrophe is not needed to show possession.

Easy, right?  Test your skills below.


1.  I can’t believe its/it’s so cold in here!

2.  Its/It’s a beautiful day!

3.  The penguin is known for its/it’s inability to fly.

4.  The book fell apart, its/it’s spine broken.

5.  The university is very proud of its/it’s reputation.

6.  Its/It’s inconceivable!


1.  it’s

2.  It’s

3.  its

4.  its

5.  its

6.  It’s

How many did you get right?

Just remember, if you can say ‘it is’ in the sentence, use “it’s”. If you can’t, use “its”

Now that you know the difference between your ‘itses’ ( 🙂 ), go check your MS before you send it out to an agent or publisher! They’ll be happy you took the extra time.