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Difference between Affect and Effect – The Easiest Way to Remember the Concept

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’.

The other day, my fiancé texted me, “Your cute.” I replied, “No. You’re.” Now, she thinks I’m romantic, while I was only pointing out her mistake. Unfortunately, my fiancé isn’t the only person who gets confused between “Your” and “You’re.” The number is in billions. “Affect” and “effect” happen to be another pair of words that confuse most people.

Affect and Effect

It is quite natural to get confused between two words when their spelling is almost the same except for one letter. However, it’s also true that a lot of English speaking people don’t know when to use “affect” and “effect” in a sentence. If you are a student, and you use these words incorrectly in your assignment, you are going to lose some crucial marks for sure.

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’— 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 resembles 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.

Affect vs. Effect – Rules

The basic difference between “affect” and “effect” is in their use. The word “Affect” is used as a verb, while “Effect” is used as a noun. So, according to the general rule of English grammar, the positions of these two words in a sentence should be different. However, there are some exceptions to the usage rule for “effect” and “affect,” which we will discuss later in this blog.

What is the difference between “affect” and “effect”? Understand with examples

There isn’t much difference between “affect” and “effect” besides the ones we discussed above. These are two different parts of speech. “Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. Let’s make it simpler for you.

If X affects Y, then Y experiences the effect of X’s action.

If you were wondering how do I remember the difference between “affect” and “effect,” you can now simply use the aforementioned example as a template. This simple example can help you make the proper use of effect and affect in a sentence.

When to Use “Affect” with Example

If we keep the exceptions aside, “affect” should always be treated as a verb. The meaning of this word is to impact or to produce a change in something. Here are a few examples that may help you understand how to use this word in a sentence.

Example 1: Excessive usage of Smartphone can affect your eyesight.

Example 2: Thousands of lives were affected due to the flood in Mumbai.

Example 3: Your behavior affects the people around you.

Hopefully, these examples have helped you understand the correct usage of the word “affect.”

When to Use Effect with Example

Effect, on the other hand, is a noun. The meaning of this word is the result of a change. If something affects you, you are going to experience the effect of it. If you need more clarity on this, just check out these following examples.

Example 1: The excessive usage of plastic is having deadly effects on marine life.

Example 2: City’s air quality improved last night due to the effect of rainfall.

Example 3: As an effect of increasing pollution, the quality of life on earth is deteriorating.

In majority of the cases, effect is used as noun only. You should stick to that rule while using it in a sentence. However, there are certain exceptions to that rule, which you need to know.

Affect Vs. Effect – Read Some Exceptions

Now that you have learned how to use affect and effect in a sentence, you must also learn about the exceptions that bend the standard rule of English grammar. In some specific contexts, effect is used as a verb and affect is used as a noun.

Effect as a Verb:

It is possible to use the word “effect” as a verb in some context. However, the meaning of the word changes entirely. The meaning of the word “effect” as a verb is to bring about. And it generally used alongside the words such as “change” and/or “solutions. Here’s an example:

The CEO effected a change in the recruitment policy.

In this sentence, the word “effect” means to bring about. The sentence actually meant, “The CEO brought about a change in the hiring policy. If you think of using “affect,” (which is an actual verb) in this sentence would have made the same sense, you are wrong. Since “affect” means “to impact” or “to change,” using it in the sentence would have changed the meaning of the sentence.

“The CEO impacted a change in the recruitment policy,” is clearly not what was intended. However, the sentence is not incorrect. Under certain context, “affected a change” would also make proper sense. So, if you are wondering which one of these sentences is correct, the answer is both of them but in a different context.

Affect as a Noun:

The noun form of the word “affect” means emotion or feeling. Even though the word is primarily used as a verb, you can use the word as a noun in the similar way as the following example:

Tim’s affect was sudden and violent when he saw his ex with some other guy.

Here, you can see it clearly that “affect” has been used instead of the word feeling or emotion. If you have used effect in the place of affect in the sentence, it wouldn’t have made any sense.

Affected as an Adjective:

Besides being used as the past and past particle form of “affect,” the word “affected” can also be used as adjective in a sentence. It generally means pretentious, artificial or designed to impress. The word is not generally said to compliment someone. It is rather used to describe something or someone that is acting like it/he/she is more important than it/he/she actually is.

Here is an example of the usage of “affected” as an adjective in a sentence:

Most of my teammates gave an affected laughter at our boss’s joke.

Here, you can easily understand what the word “affected” is used for. You couldn’t have used the word “effected” in this sentence and made the same sense. So, there shouldn’t be any doubt about choosing the ideal word – affected or effected.

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.

Affect vs. Effect: How to Remember the Difference?

If someone asks you “do you know the difference between effect and affect,” you should not have a problem defining the correct use of affect and effect. However, if you cannot remember the definitions of affect and effect, just remember this simple trick.

The word “affect” starts with the letter “A.” Action also starts with the letter “A.” Action means a verb. You can associate “affect” with verb. If you can remember that, you will be able to differential “effect” as noun. So, it’s crucial to get the spelling right.

When to Use Affect or Effect – Recap Summary

We have discussed throughout the blog how to differentiate between affect and effect. To help you remember all the crucial details about their differences, let’s recap the whole thing.

  1. Affect should be used as the verb in a sentence. The word means “to change” or “to impact.”
  2. Effect is used as noun in a sentence. The word means “the result of a change.”
  3. Even though the affect and effect are used as verb and noun respectively, there are some exceptions to the rule.
  4. Effect can also be used as verb. However, the meaning of the word changes to “to bring about.” Its past and past participle form is “effected”.
  5. Affect can be used as noun, but the meaning is changed to “emotion” or “feeling.”
  6. Affected can be used as adjective, and then its meaning stands “pretentious” or “artificial.”
  7. The difference between “affected” and “effected” is in their meaning and their use as a part of speech.

Hopefully, you can remember the difference between “affect” and “effect” in a sentence from now on, and won’t confuse these words. As you can realise, if you make incorrect use of the words, it can affect your grades, and it can have an effect on your academic career.

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