Affect vs. Effect

In most situations, affect is used as a verb, and effect is used as a noun. However, both words have alternate meanings when used as different parts of speech.

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Most common meaning In its most common usage, "affect" is a verb; "to affect" something is to make an impact on something. In its most common usage, "effect" is a noun and is usually followed by the preposition "on"; things have "an effect on" other things.
When used as a verb As a verb, to affect something means to cause it to change in some way. This is affect's most common usage. As a verb, "to effect" means "to bring about."
When used as a noun As a noun, the word "affect" relates to the display of emotion. As a noun, effect means the result or outcome of a cause. This is effect's most common usage. Also, a person's "effects" means his/her immediate personal belongings.
Usage "Affect" is most commonly used in its verb form. "Effect" is most commonly used in its noun form.
Pronunciation Noun: ˈæfɛkt and Verb: ə'fɛkt ɪˈfɛkt
Example "My cold was affected by the weather." "Special effects"; "The parents' divorce had an adverse effect on the kid's performance in school."

Contents: Affect vs. Effect

edit Differences in Usage

In general, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. When X "affects" Y, it is said that X produces an "effect" on Y. In passive form, Y is "affected" by X.

edit Examples of Affect vs. Effect

As a rule of thumb that works in most common usage scenarios, it is advisable to use affect as a verb (transitive, intransitive, active, passive) and to use effect as a noun.

edit Usage in Special Cases

Like many other words in the English language, affect and effect have more than one meaning.

edit Affect as a Noun

When used as a noun, "affect" refers to the external display of one's emotions or moods. The pronunciation of the word "affect" is slightly different when used as a noun. It is pronounced with a short A, as in apple, rather than the "uh" sound found in amount and affect when used as a verb. For example, consider the sentence John was unaffected by the impassioned performance. This means John did not display any emotions.

edit Effect as a Verb

When used as a verb, "effect" means to execute, produce, or accomplish something. It is pronounced the same way whether used as a verb or a noun. For example: The best way to effect change in society is to work at the grassroots level. Here "to effect change" means "to produce change".

edit Effects as a plural noun

The word "effects" can also be used to mean "a person's belongings". For example, He left without any of his personal effects.

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Comments: Affect vs Effect

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Anonymous comments (5)

April 25, 2014, 7:20pm

I agree with Chuck, this is crazy... they both deal with change, why is one to bring about and the other to cause. Gosh isn't causing something to bring it about. Doggone English language! SMH

— 168.✗.✗.118

June 2, 2013, 11:27pm

Try plugging in the word "result" for effect: The effect (result) of the medication was bad.

— 12.✗.✗.229

May 10, 2013, 3:46pm

While the comment that 'effect" is typically used as a noun while "affect" is typically a verb is correct, both words can be used as verbs or nouns. As verbs, "affect" means "to influence" while "effect" means "to cause". -- University Professor for 25 years

— 207.✗.✗.207

March 18, 2009, 6:46pm

The new law will affect you.
The effect of the new law is that people will smoke less.

— 24.✗.✗.112

January 20, 2009, 12:11am

As a kid, I learned the "RAVEN" mnemonic for these two words:

Affect =
Effect =

Hope this helps others!

— 209.✗.✗.126


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