In an article today in the Christian Science Monitor, they give a Fox transcript of Palin's recent speech as follows:

“Somebody like me – is a title and is a campaign too shackling?” said Palin. “Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me and to force my message to be what donors or what contributors or what political pundits want it to be? Does a title take away my freedom to call it like I see it and to affect positive change that we need in this country? That’s the biggest contemplation piece in my process.”

Question: Is it possible that "affect" was intended there? Or was the more natural "effect" intended, and the above is a typo?

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    Well, this is only one person's opinion, and I'm not saying I believe it (though I don't disbelieve it either). But it seems to me well within the bounds of possibility that the transcript accurately reflects what Palin said. I'm sure the woman is not a very good thinker; she may not be reliable in matters of grammar either. Much of what she says bears only a passing resemblance to English. Sep 29, 2011 at 4:10
  • @FumbleFingers - I must say you are very generous to Ms. Palin. In fact, she should be proud of this speech. Sep 29, 2011 at 4:40
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    @Adel: I can afford to be generous. She doesn't live in my country! Sep 29, 2011 at 4:42
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    It's quite possible that, with Ms. Palin's accent, the first vowel was pronounced with a schwa e thereby making it impossible to determine if the actual word used was affect or effect.
    – oosterwal
    Sep 29, 2011 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


While it's possible to "affect" change, it's not the intended meaning here:

  • To effect change means to invoke or cause the change to happen.
  • To affect change means to change the way the change is happening.

Now, if she actually means to affect positive change, that would simply mean she wants to turn the positive change around (for the worse).


I very much doubt that Palin was saying that she attempting to change the course of positive change as we know it. From context, the idea that she just wants to cause change is much more likely. So, I'm concluding typo.

Indeed, Google N-Grams confirms that "effect change" is a considerably more likely phrase.

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