affect (negative?)

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Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering whether affect is more likely to be used in negative sense. I made up a sentence:

His kindness affects me and I want to learn from him.

Is it idiomatic? Would you give me some advice? Thank you.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "Affect" is a neutral word to me, Sun. What do you mean when you say that his kindness affects you? Do you like him because he is kind?
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Affect" is a neutral word to me, Sun. What do you mean when you say that his kindness affects you? Do you like him because he is kind?
    Yes, but the example I find on Collins all indicates the negative valence of "affect" which confuses me.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Don't rely on one source when you are trying to understand the meaning of some word. "Affect" is neutral. You can affect things positively or negatively.

    If you just mean to say that you like the guy, then you probably don't need "affect" at all: He's nice/kind, so I want to learn from him.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Don't rely on one source when you are trying to understand the meaning of some word. "Affect" is neutral. You can affect things positively or negatively.

    If you just mean to say that you like the guy, then you probably don't need "affect" at all: He's nice/kind, so I want to learn from him.
    If I want to say his kindness is a huge impact on me, is it idiomatic to say so?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If this kindness of his truly has a "huge impact" on you, you can say that.

    I have to tell you, Sun, that many English-speakers tend to mistrust exaggerated statements about feelings. Understatement is not a crime when you want to say something complimentary about somebody: He's really kind, so I want to learn from him.

    I often associate effusive language with insincerity or childish enthusiasm. I've heard too many speakers talk about how "awesome" ordinary things were, so this sort of chatter usually sounds ridiculous to me. :rolleyes: If you told me that this person's kindness had a "huge impact" on you, I'd expect some convincing details about this huge impact. If you couldn't provide them, I'd think that you were using dramatic, insincere language about somebody's qualities.
     
    Last edited:

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If this kindness of his truly has a "huge impact" on you, you can say that.

    I have to tell you, Sun, that many English-speakers tend to mistrust exaggerated statements about feelings. Understatement is not a crime when you want to say something complimentary about somebody: He's really kind, so I want to learn from him.

    I often associate effusive language with insincerity or childish enthusiasm. I've heard too many speakers talk about how "awesome" ordinary things were, so this sort of chatter usually sounds ridiculous to me. :rolleyes: If you told me that this person's kindness had a "huge impact" on you, I'd expect some convincing details about this huge impact. If you couldn't provide them, I'd think that you were using dramatic, insincere language about somebody's qualities.
    This is really a different perspective for us, because in Chinese culture we are less confident than the Westerners to describe or say something. Now I know that exaggeration are irritating at times and I will pay attention to it and think carefully then write or speak.
     
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