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Difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’: Clarify all your doubts

User Mark time25 October,2018

Similar words or homophones are always confusing. It has been found that even people with very good command over English also get perplexed about the usage of certain words. Two such words in the list are ‘affect’ and ‘effect’.  Most people do not have a clear idea about when to use ‘affect and effect’.

If you are also one of them who are still messing up the usage of ‘affect’ and ‘effect’, read this blog to solve the issue. The blog discusses the difference between the two and also explains the usage of the words.

affect and effect

‘Affect’ and ‘effect’— definition:-

To use the words appropriately, it is important to understand the meaning of the same. Otherwise, the confusion between ‘affect’ Vs ‘effect’ will never be solved.

Effect:- This word resembles to the result of an action. There should always be a cause and then its effect. For example: The late night video game playing will have an effect on your sleep pattern.  It can be said that when you use the word effect, it should be used as a form of noun. When you want to establish the impact of any phenomenon, then the word ‘effect’ is used in the context.

Affect:- This word resemble the verb form.   It means to influence something or produce a change. It can be said that, this word is used to show how something has influenced an action to happen. For example, the cold water has affected his health and he is ill. Here, it shows that the cold water has affected the health adversely. This is the straightforward definition of these two words. However, there are differences in the usage of these two words. While writing, you may get confused about when to use affect and effect.

Affecting or effecting—the usage:-

As the definition of these two words have been discussed above, it is now important to know how these words can be placed according to the context. Let us discuss about the different context where affecting versus effecting can be a bit tricky.

Here are some of the examples of using ‘affect’ in a context:-

  • The beautiful write-up affects the readers on a deeper level.
  • Did the orator’s idea affect your position?
  • This medication can affect your health adversely.
  • I won’t take any decision that can affect my career.

These are some of the common examples of using affect in sentences. Here, the word has been used to show the influence of something on someone.

However, confusion may arise when this word is also used as a ‘noun’ instead of ‘verb’. At that time, people often get confused and could not understand whether to use ‘affect’ or ‘effect’ in the sentence. The effect Vs affect confusion leads to grammatical errors.

On the other hand, the usage of effect is different as it is mainly used as a noun and not as a verb. The easiest way to understand or identify it as a noun is by placing an article (an or the) before the word.

The word ‘effect’ implies of a greater action than ‘affect’. Thus, when you use ‘affect’ or ‘effect’, the whole meaning of the sentence is dependent on that particular word. Here are some of the examples of the usage of effect in a sentence.

  • There can be negative effects of your action on others.
  • I would never forget the effect her presence had on me.
  • You can’t imagine the effect if this story goes viral.
  • What is the desired effect of this process?

Here, every context or sentence talks about a desired result or impact. This is the actual meaning of the word. To master the usage of both the words, it is important for you to know and remember the basic difference as ‘affect’ is a verb and ‘effect’ is a noun.

Affecting versus effecting—the common mistakes

As the confusion about these two words remains, the common mistake that people make is especially in the usage of the words. Most of them interchange the word while using it.

For instance,

The knee surgery had an adverse ‘effect’ on his gait.

Here, ‘effect’ is a wrong choice of words because the sentence meant to state that the knee surgery had a negative influence over a person’s gait. Here, ‘affect’ would have been a right choice of word. The mistake with the use of affecting versus effecting can change the whole sentence.

For using the word ‘effect’ in the same sentence, the construction has to be different. Here it is.

Due to the knee surgery, as an ‘effect’ his gait became difficult.

Here, the sentence reveals that due to the knee surgery, his walking pace became problematic. Thus, it is the result of the knee surgery.

Another common mistake they make when they try to use ‘effect’ as a verb in some of the contexts.

For example- ‘They effected their escape through a rear window’.

Here, the word ‘effected’ is used as a verb.  But, the confusion with affect or effect remains.

These are some of the common mistakes that people make with these two words. Read the blog and get a clear idea of the same.

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