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February 2005, Week 4


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Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Feb 2005 19:52:05 +0000
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Apologies for cross-posting.

This might sound like a bizarre question, but I'm trying to establish the 
correct form of a quotation from the screenplay of 'The Big Sleep': 
specifically the line in which Dorothy Malone describes the organised crime 
boss whose front is an antique shop as someone '...who effects a knowledge 
of antiques but hasn't any.'  Question: should it be 'effect' or 
'affect'?  I always thought the former, i.e. 'effect' as a verb meaning (to 
quote the Chambers Dictionary definition) to accomplish or bring something 
about.  I'm using this quotation in a book which is now in the final 
editing stage.  Not only have I used the quotation, but in the title of a 
chapter as well - so needless to say, I'd like to get it right!  One of the 
external readers has corrected the verb to 'affects'.  To my mind this 
seems wrong: 'affect' means to change something which already exists, 
whereas the verb in this quote is being used to describe the creation of an 
effect which did not previously exist (and, subtly, to point out that the 
resulting effect [noun] is a false and misleading one).

I know that this sounds like a terribly niggly little point, but can anyone 
settle this definitively?  I'd hate to have to change the title of my 
chapter this late in the day!

Many thanks in advance

Leo Enticknap
Northern Region Film & Television Archive
Middlesbrough, UK 

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