Monday, January 19, 2015

How to Choose Between Affect and Effect

How to Choose Between Affect and Effect Photo

How to Choose Between Affect and Effect

One of the most often asked grammar questions is when to use affect and when to use effect.

Affect is used as a verb and effect is used as a noun.  Since only nouns can be modified by the articles a, an and the, I can show you a simple trick to help you choose the correct word.

If you are not sure how to choose between“affect” or “effect,” see if one of the articles “a, an, or the” works in front of it.  If so, “effect” is probably the correct choice. If you try to place an article in front of a verb, it will not be correct. Since "effect" is a noun, the article will sound correct.

Your behavior had a negative effect on me.
Polio affected his legs.

It may help you to know that effect usually means "the result" and affect usually means "to influence."

Now you try it:
1.  She wore a tiara on her head and the (affect, effect) was ridiculous.
2.  Your behavior is having an (affect, effect) on everyone in the class.
3.  Watching a feel-good movie did not (affect, effect) his bad mood.

1.  effect   The article "the" appears before the noun "effect."
2.  effect   The article "an" appears before the noun "effect."
3.  affect   The articles "a, an, and the" would not make sense before the verb "affect."

Click here for a computer exercise to study common homonyms:

And for a more advanced class, click here for an interactive advanced vocabulary quiz.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Feel Bad for Those Who Say They Feel Badly


Winter is a good time to help your students brush up on common errors in their writing and speaking and learn to correct them. One of the most common errors is making the wrong choice between the words bad and badly. Here's a quick explanation that may help.

 Be careful when using the words "bad" and "badly," so you will say exactly what you mean.

 Sometimes, even people who try to speak and write correctly end up making errors. I know I am guilty of that. Often those errors occur when people try to decide between the adjective “bad” and the adverb “badly.”

 Most of the time, the choice is easy. He has a bad cold. (Bad is an adjective that describes what kind of cold he has.) He behaved badly. (Badly is an adverb that describes how he behaved.)

 The problem usually occurs when the word follows a linking verb, especially the linking verbs “feel” and “look.” (Remember that adjectives, not adverbs, should follow a linking verb.)

  • I feel bad. (This means my emotions are sad, unpleasant, or I am ill.) 
  • I feel badly. (This means my sense of touch is poor.) 
  • Jon looks bad. (This means he may be ill, or his appearance may be less than attractive.) 
  • Jon looks badly. (This means Jon has trouble with his vision.) 

 Don’t feel bad if you have been making this mistake in your writing or speaking. I have heard two famous television talk show hosts use these words incorrectly. On one of the programs, the host said, “No one can make you feel badly about yourself except you.” I had a mental image of fingers moving around in the air.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to be conscious of the fact that you are using any form of the verb “feel” (feels, felt, feeling), and then choose the correct word.

If you need help with grammar or usage, be sure to check out my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense series of books. They have everything you need to become a better writer and speaker.

Take a look below at all of the great blog posts from other Secondary Teachers. Your students are sure to learn something!
Thanks to ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for hosting this linkup.  Hang in there! We are almost Out of the Deep Freeze.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sisters Writing Crime

Sisters Writing Crime

It’s cold in Tucson, Arizona today. Jerry and I come here every New Year’s Eve and stay for a few days if we possibly can. I find it a wonderful place to start the new year and set my goals. We stay in the beautiful Westin La Paloma in the Catalina Foothills. I highly recommend the hotel and the area. The desert is beautiful and there are several outstanding restaurants nearby.
Cactus Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree made of living Barrel Cactus in the front of the hotel. After Christmas, they plant them on the property.

Catalina Foothills photo
A view of the beautiful Catalina Foothills from our hotel room.

This year, I am working on my blog, and my sister Judi and I are well into our third novel. We write mysteries under a pseudonym we created by combining our two last names: Tess Thompson. This novel is going to be titled, Darker Than Death. We have finished 18 chapter so far and are on a roll.

We both live in Texas, but we live 758 miles apart. Judi's in Houston, and I’m in El Paso. We have to drive all day or buy an expensive airline ticket to get together. This week we are both on writers’ retreats, but not together. I’m here in Arizona and she is at her vacation home in Angel Fire, New Mexico, where she and her husband spend every Christmas.

Thank goodness for updated technology. When we wrote our first book together in 2002, we only had email. Now we are collaborating by using cell phones, texting, emailing, and DropBox. Of course, we had a super planning session in 2014 at my house along with lots of red wine and Mexican food. Once we get a book plotted and the outline written, we each choose the chapters we want to write and away we go.

Darker Than Death is turning out to be very interesting. As usual, we never know what the characters are going to do. We kind of follow them around as they act out the story. We will publish it this year. Check back for the exact date later.

Judi and I both worked as educators for three decades each, and now we are officially retired and our job title is: novelist. This is what we have both always wanted to do. It’s even more fun than we thought.

We would love to have you check out our books. Just visit our Amazon Page and our Website.

I hope your new year in 2015 will make all your dreams come true.

photo and signature Charlene Tess

Monday, December 29, 2014

Super Secondary Halfway Sale on TpT

Super Secondary Halfway Sale on

Happy New Year 2015 Poster

It's hard to believe that the school year is nearly halfway over. The spring semester will be a very important one, and several of the secondary teacher/authors on have decided to hold a two-day sale. You can grab some awesome products on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Take a look below at all the stores that will be participating in the sale.

Click here to visit my store. All my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books will be on sale.

Click here to be directed to a pdf of the poster below. After you download it, you can click on any of pictures in the circles and go straight to one these terrific stores. You do not need to enter a code at checkout this time.

Start your new year off right and stock up on great materials to use in the second half of the year. The sale is December 31st and January 1st only!

A huge thank you to Gina Wilson of All Things Algebra for organizing this sale 
and creating the poster above.

All the best,

photo and signature Charlene Tess

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Free Holiday Recipe eBook from the Secondary Teachers of TpT

A FREE Holiday Recipe eBook from 

the Secondary Teachers of TpT

Enjoy 46 Holiday Recipes! 

Holiday Recipe Book

Here is a colorful eBook filled with 46 recipes to help with your holiday meal planning. This book is a gift from the Super Secondary Teachers from 
Click here for your copy.

Since I am a Texan, I have always loved Mexican food. Check out my recipe on page 12 for Chicken Tortilla Soup. I hope your family enjoys this spicy soup as much as mine does!

Have a wonderful Christmas and be sure to check back with me in 2015. I will have several new and exciting products in my store. Also, my sister Judi and I are about halfway finished with our latest novel that will be out next year! Click here to see my novels.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Tradition of Warm Hearts and Full Tummies

A Tradition of Warm Hearts and Full Tummies

Santa, poinsettia, and wreath collage

I think it would be safe to say that family holiday traditions evolve as families grow. After marriage, spouses bring the traditions from each of their families and blend them into new and special ones to share with each other and their children.

When I was a child, we had a large, extended family and everyone came to a big party at my parents' house on Christmas Eve to celebrate. We always gathered around the piano and sang Christmas Carols, ate delicious snacks and desserts, and then bundled up to drive to a neighborhood known for its beautiful decorations. We walked along together viewing the pretty lights. On Christmas morning, the children opened their gifts, and after church, we had a huge Christmas dinner that various members of the family had prepared. We even had fun while washing the mountains of dishes left behind. It was a joyous, boisterous, magical time for all of us.

Now, our extended family has scattered to many distant locations due to their jobs. We are still very close in matters of the heart, but it is impossible for all of us to get together like we did in the past. Now, our tradition includes using the same recipes that our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and cousins used to create scrumptious meals for our own smaller families. We refer to the dishes by name: Mema's dressing, Vi's pumpkin torte, Ken's pecan pie, Aunt Kay's green jello salad, and Aunt Mimi's yeast rolls. Even our children know whom to credit for the delicious food on our table. And when our grandchildren are old enough, the recipes will pass to them to recreate and share with their future families.
I hope that your Holiday Season is beautiful in every way and that your wishbone wish comes true.

Take a look at the Secondary Smorgasbord Bloghop below. You are sure to find something wonderful to use with your classes.
All the best,

Charlene Tess photo and signature

Secondary Smorgasbord Bloghop is hosted by 

ELA BuffetDesktop Learning Adventures

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