If it’s true that most of what you learned in high school is irrelevant, then maybe it’s also true that every once in a while a teacher could sneak in a few tidbits that will actually be useful, even when you reach middle age, as I have. I can only tell you in the vaguest of terms what I learned about meteorology and geology in my ninth grade earth science class, but I can tell you with 100% accuracy the grammar lesson my teacher taught me. You read that right, my science teacher, Mrs. Beasley, taught me a grammar lesson. Her class was the first where we would enter the science fair, and she wanted to make sure we knew the difference between affect and effect when we put together our presentations. She told us to think of the abbreviations for Nebraska (NE) and Virginia (VA) – the noun is effect and the verb is affect. As a writer, it’s important for me to remember which is which, and I am grateful this little memory trick has stuck with me for almost 30 years. I just can’t help but wonder, though,  what she’d think if she knew that’s what I remember from her class!

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