Search 72,431 tutors
FIND TUTORS

Affect vs. Effect

Often confused, frequently misused

Written by tutor Carolyn P.

Ah yes, which one to use? A nagging and sometimes challenging question whose answer can elude the college-bound high school student and the professional, alike. Well, sweat no more. It's really fairly simple:

"Affect" is a verb. "Effect" is a noun. There, that's it.or is it? Well. mostly. Truthfully, if you think of these words in that way, you'll have no issues 98% of the time. Consider the following definitions and usages:

Affect as a VERB

To cause change, to influence something.

The stroke may affect his ability to speak clearly.
If you don't study, it will affect your grades.
Adverse weather conditions all weekend affected the holiday festivities.

Affect as a NOUN

A display of emotion, mood or other aspect of behavior (largely used by psychologists or others in the social science field).

When shown her family's photographs, the patient had a pleasant affect.

Effect as a VERB

To bring about, cause or accomplish (substitute "bring about" to know if this usage is correct).

Public awareness effected new safety laws for the factory workers.

Effect as a NOUN *

A result or outcome (can be preceded by A, AN, ANY, THE, TAKE, INTO, NO).

Using a tanning bed too frequently can have a disastrous effect.

* exceptional plural uses:
Special effects, personal effects.

So there you have it. Always remember: Affect is an Action, Effect is an End Result. Here's hoping this article will effect positive changes in your future writing.

Effect vs Affect Practice Quiz

Determine whether "affect" or "effect" appropriately completes the sentence.

Tutoring had a very positive _____ on her grade.

A. effect
B. affect
The correct answer here would be A.

This situation calls for "effect" as a noun, as it speaks of a result/outcome.

I tried to not let my mood _____ my entire day.

A. effect
B. affect
The correct answer here would be B.

The situation calls for "affect" as a verb, as it speaks of an act of influence.

Her inappropriate attire _____ed a derisive comment from her mother, who did not approve.

A. effect
B. affect
The correct answer here would be A.

This situation calls for "effect" as a verb, as her clothing choices "brought about" a negative comment from her mother.

The medicine had no _____ on her; therefore, she discontinued using it.

A. effect
B. affect
The correct answer here would be A.

This situation calls for "effect" as a noun, because it speaks of a result or outcome.

Sign up for free to access more English resources like . WyzAnt Resources features blogs, videos, lessons, and more about English and over 250 other subjects. Stop struggling and start learning today with thousands of free resources!