The most common usage of affect is as a verb, meaning "to impact". Effect is usually a noun, meaning the result or consequence of something. However, both affect and effect have alternate meanings when used as different parts of speech.

Comparison chart

Affect versus Effect comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartAffectEffect
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."

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.

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.

Usage in Special Cases

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

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.

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".

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 LLC, n.d. Web. 9 Jan 2023. < >