Alabama immigration law will EFFECT business?? Not likely.

In the ongoing LinkedIn debate about whether spelling and usage errors matter, a number of people have commented that being correct isn't so important these days. I disagree with that attitude, especially when an error in usage totally distorts the meaning of a sentence, as it does here:

Employers need to have a solid understanding of Alabama's tough new immigration law because lawsuits challenging it aren't likely to strike down the portions that will most directly effect business, a panel of lawyers told concerned business owners and managers Wednesday.

Whoops! When the word EFFECT is used as a verb, as it is in this sentence, it means TO BRING ABOUT.  When EFFECT is used as a noun (as it usually is), it means the RESULT or CONSEQUENCE (noun) that is brought about. I doubt seriously that News staff writer Stan Diel intended to suggest that Alabama's tough new immigration law  would bring about business in the state. On the contrary, as the rest of the sentence suggests, business owners are concerned that the exact opposite will happen!

The writer should have used the verb AFFECT (have an influence on OR bring about change in). His other choice would have been to use the verb HAVE with the noun EFFECT.  The two options for a correct statement are given below:

Employers need to have a solid understanding of Alabama's tough new immigration law because lawsuits challenging it aren't likely to strike down the portions that will most directly affect business, a panel of lawyers told concerned business owners and managers Wednesday.

Employers need to have a solid understanding of Alabama's tough new immigration law because lawsuits challenging it aren't likely to strike down the portions that will  have the most direct effect   on business, a panel of lawyers told concerned business owners and managers Wednesday.

 

 


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