Affect vs. Effect And Why The Effects Affect Your Writing

To Affect The Effect

The two words affect vs. effect can cause a lot of confusion. It’s because they sound so similar.

When we speak, there is no problem when we use these two words as a noun or a verb.

This is because they are almost homonyms. I say almost because there can be a slight difference.

It depends on different English language accents and pronunciation. But in all accents, affect has a schwa sound, but effect uses a pure vowel sound.

The difference between affect vs. effect

All you need to do is remember that one is a verb, and one is a noun. In writing, it is important that you use the correct parts of speech to phrase cause and effect.

Effect is usually a noun and Affect is normally a verb.

But we know that it is very easy to confuse them.

To affect means to have a negative or positive outcome on something or someone. Or it can make a difference to something. In other words, it is a verb that means to influence or alter something. It is a cause. 

An effect is a change that is a result or consequence of an action. The action produces an effect. It is a result. Because affect is a verb, it is placed after the subject and can be used in all tenses.

You will use affect, affects, affected or affecting. You will often use affect as a verb in the passive voice. The game was affected by bad weather.

The word effect is a noun meaning the result or outcome.

It always takes an article. Either an, the, or the zero article when it is plural. An effect, the effect, effects.

You can use it as a noun after an adjective. A terrible effect, a side effect, a positive effect.

It needs to be a mnemonic device. It means you need to practice and remember the difference between these two confusing words.


The easy way to remember the difference

When you have a doubt, just bring a bird to your mind.

Think about Edgar Allan Poe and his poem, The Raven.

Remember that Affect is a Verb and Effect is a Noun.

Raven affect effect

Another simple way you can get it right is to remember double-A and double-E.

Affect Alters something and Effect is an End result.

Look at some examples to see how easy it is to get affect vs. effect right every time.

Affect or Effect

How to use AFFECT as a verb

Books give the chance to affect people’s thinking.

Walking a dog is a well-known activity to affect blood pressure in a positive way.

Positive thinking affects the recovery time of patients after surgery.

Too much rain can affect the grape crop very badly.

Note: The use of affect as a noun is applied to some psychological terms.


How to use EFFECT as a noun

The primary side effect of this drug is nausea.

Tax increases have an effect on the cost of retail goods.

Driving too fast will have an effect on your fuel consumption.

He noticed the effect of the medication very quickly.


But be aware of effect as a verb

We don’t use it very often, but effect does have a verb form.


verb (with object)
To cause something to happen or to bring something about. The new CEO effected many new staff policy changes.


The adjectives affective vs. effective

affective effective


The word affective is an adjective. It is used mostly in the field of psychology. The word refers to emotional states relating to moods, attitudes, feelings, and emotions.

It can denote mental disorders when a disturbance of mood is the primary symptom. She is suffering from a seasonal affective disorder.

The affective domain describes learning objectives. These emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection.

But it is rarely used as a part of speech in everyday language.

Other forms
affectively adverb,
affectivity |afɛkˈtɪvɪti| noun


The adjective effective means to successfully producing an intended or desired result. She applied effective solutions to management problems.

When there is something existing but is not formally recognized. He has been placed under effective bankruptcy since last year.

When something is assessed according to real or actual rather than just face value. It has an effective price of $14 million.


As a noun
A soldier fit and available for service. When the battle began, he had a total of 130 effectives.

Other forms
effectivity |ɪfɛkˈtɪvɪti| noun

effectively |ɪˈfɛktɪvli|

To act in such a manner that it produces the desired result. Please make sure that all our resources are used effectively.

When something is not official or explicit.

The police were effectively controlled by the criminals they were meant to be investigating. 

Effectively, this new law will mean that corporations will be able to avoid local taxes.


When do you use a noun, and when do you use a verb?

It is the key to choosing the correct word when you are deciding between the two words, affect and effect.

When you use a verb for a cause with to, ed or ing, you need to use affect.

If it is a result, it is a noun, so you will use an or the effect.

Now you can use these two commonly confused words with no confusion at all.


Related reading: Lay vs Lie And How Easy It Is To Get These Two Words Wrong

4 thoughts on “Affect vs. Effect And Why The Effects Affect Your Writing”

  1. I need to know — what in the world is the leading picture demonstrating? Is the person on the left experiencing the universe’s most disturbing and erection? Has he twisted it himself in some masochistic display or is there a balloon in his pants? I see that the woman on the right is clearly not enthused, but WHAT exactly is happening here!?
    To be clear, I am very thankful for this article’s help in distinguishing the difference between the use of affect and effect; I am now just so concerned with this illustration that I am completely sidetracked from the paper I was writing.

    1. The boy is wearing a hakama. It is a skirt-like pants and is traditional of samurai clothing. The image simply suggests that the boy said or did something to upset the girl. Therefore, it represents cause and effect.

  2. Avatar for Reginald Roger Bongwater
    Reginald Roger Bongwater

    What kind of belt is the boy in the illustration wearing? I don’t believe that’s a legitimate belt, your illustrator has issues.

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