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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Affect

Effect

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."

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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"Affect vs. Effect." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 24 Aug 2015. < >