Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ask Away Sunday: How My Dad AFFECTED Me With Stories of Joan of Arc and the Interesting EFFECTS of Onions

This last week, two questions landed in the inbox, one personal, one editing.

The personal, from a lady named Dee: What made you want to write about strong women?

That's a good question. The answer may be a bit long-winded. Bear with me... Growing up, my father was always talking about women like Joan of Arc, strong women who fought for their beliefs and rights. Now, looking back, this seems odd as my dad is an old-fashioned know "women belong at home cooking dinner and raising babies.." So how did he end up raising a feminist? And why?

Now, I'm not a mind-reader, but I think I know why he did this. I believe he was preparing me. He no doubt knew the world would be a bit tougher on me because 1. I'm a woman 2. I'm Hispanic. 3. I'm deaf. According to him, that was three strikes already. He always told me I was going to have be smarter, stronger, braver, and I was going to have to work twice as hard because in others' eyes, I'm already lacking.

He knew the prejudice I would face and worked daily to prepare me. And sometimes he did this by inspiring me with stories about strong women facing adversity. By the time I started school, I was dying to know more about these women. When a class assignment was "write a report about the American Civil War", I chose women spies and researched them. Every chance I had, I was reading about strong women. My choice of fiction literature was always girl sleuths and the like. Strong girls. I try to write them. 

Question two, from Morgan: Is there some easy way to differentiate between affect and effect that is easy to remember? I find myself vacillating over the two words most of the time. I understand the difference in their meaning, but I can't make anything stick in my head to remember it. :(

Hum. Excellent question. I honestly didn't come up with a cute riddle or anything. I learned this rule by repeating weird stuff over and over in my head till it came to naturally.

First of all, though Morgan already knows this, I'll share it here for those who may not know. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. The two are easily confused. Below is a correct way of using the two words.

Onions affect my digestive system. The effect is bad gas. *I honestly find this a foul, but effective way to remember. If it makes you laugh, it'll stay with you...just like bad onion gas.*

If I call you bad names, I affect (evoke an emotion from) you. The effect (result): you cry.

Just in case the onion sentence doesn't do it for you, I did a little research to see if anyone else had a cuter way of remembering this rule. Grammar Girl does. She even has a little graphic, but I won't steal it. Click on the name to see her post about this rule.

Her sentence: 

The arrow Affected the Aardvark. The Effect was Eye-popping.

Notice a-a and e-e.

But if the onion sentence stays with you, feel free to use it.

Onions affect my digestive system. The effect is bad gas.

Thank you, Morgan and Dee, for your questions. Got a question for me? Use the Ask Away Sunday form and I'll do my best to answer.


  1. Thanks for answering my question Tara!

    Your dad seems like a lovely man :D i'm glad you enjoy writing and reading about strong women!


    1. You're very welcome, Dee! Thanks for asking me something. I was afraid I'd have no questions at all. LOL

  2. Very interesting stuff. The onion is a great was to remember this.

    1. I think the aardvark one is better, but I did my best. :)

  3. I love this post. Especially the part about you and your dad. I've told my autistic son something similar--you can do anything that anybody else can do, but some of it will be more challenging because of your autism. But that will make you into a stronger person. And you will be all the better for it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tara S.

    1. Thanks for checking it out! And for your nice comment. You are so right.