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