Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Jan 25 2010   3:39PM GMT

Personal affects or personal effects?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Among the items you should never leave on your desk are _____________ with sensitive information, such as credit card statements.
a. personal affects
b. personal effects

Answer: b.

A personal effect is a personal item. This term pops up mostly in the contexts of things they hold for you while you’re in jail or things you leave someone in a will. However, it’s also used to describe personal items you may (but shouldn’t) leave on your desk.

Totally understandable why I shouldn’t leave tax documents or my credit card bill on the desk. But why they want me to remove my vintage troll doll collection, I’ll never understand.


Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty (@GrammarGirl on Twitter) says she gets more questions about effect vs. affect than anything else.

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