J. G. Levitt Professional Development

Copyright 2017







Tip 1: Use Affect and Effect Correctly

Affect is a verb meaning, “to influence, change.”

The court's decision in this case will not affect (influence or change) the established precedent.

Effect is a noun meaning “result or outcome.”

It will be months before we can assess the full effect (impact or result or outcome) of the new law.

Practice.  Circle the correct answer in the following exercises to make sure you can use affect and effect correctly and confidently:

  1. The (affect/effect) of the new regulation on our business will be minimal.
  2. The new regulation (affects/effects) our business significantly.
  3. The freezing rain (affected, effected) the crops only slightly.
  4. His thorough research will have a positive (affect, effect) on our negotiations.



Use affect when it is the verb of the sentence.

Think "a" for "action" = verb (affect) or infinitive (to affect)


Think "e" for result = noun

Answer Key:


effect (result)


affects (action—verb)


affected (action—verb)


effect  (result)

Tip 2: Use A Lot Correctly

Alot is misspelled as one word. Always use two words: a lot.

A lot means “land on which one builds,” “one’s fortune (his lot in life),” or “a vote (cast your lot for the best candidate)."

The phrase a lot is imprecise and casual. To increase clarity, use a more specific term (a specific number, for example). Terms more appropriate for business writing also include such as, much, many, a great deal of, or a great quantity.

Tip 3: Test Your Message With One Question

After writing each key sentence or paragraph, test the content with one important question, “So what?” What is the main idea of this sentence or paragraph? Is it perfectly clear, persuasive, and complete? If not, tweak the content until the “so what” is strong and convincing. Examples of required tweaks include the following:

Tip 4: Consider Using One Space Following End Punctuation

A growing practice in many organizations is requiring the use of only one space following end punctuation. Ultimately, this policy saves paper—especially in large documents. Word processing software automatically inserts one and a half spaces following end punctuation, making the use of two spaces unnecessary.

Tip 5: Avoid Excess Baggage

Extra modifiers can water down your message. Not every noun needs an adjective. Not every adjective needs an adverb. Saying it twice is a waste of time. Target the shortest core term to convey your message concisely and with energy.

Excess Baggage

Targeted Term

blend together


both alike


end result


meaningless gibberish


single unit


assemble together


Easy tips to help you write what you mean and make it:

Tip 1: Use Affect and Effect Correctly

Tip 2: Use A Lot Correctly

Tip 3: Test Your Message With One Question

Tip 4: Consider Using One Space Following End Punctuation

Tip 5: Avoid Excess Baggage