The words affect and 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 and effect
All you need to remember is that one is a verb, and one is a noun.
In writing, it is important that we use the correct parts of speech to phrase cause and effect.
Effect is usually a noun. Affect is normally a verb.
But we know that it is common to confuse them.
To affect means to have a negative or positive outcome on something or someone.
Or to make a difference to something. In other words, it is a verb meaning to influence or alter something. It is a cause.
An effect is a change that is a result or consequence of an action or other cause. In simple terms, it is to produce 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 probably 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 when to use affect or effect
When you have a doubt about these two words, just bring a bird to your mind.
Think about the black raven.
Maybe you can think about Edgar Allan Poe and his poem, The Raven.
Remember that Affect is a Verb and Effect is a Noun.
It’s so clear.
Another simple way is to get it right is to think double-A and double-E.
Affect Alters something.
Effect is an End result.
Look at the following examples. See how easy it is to get these two words right every time.
Affect vs. effect examples
How to use AFFECT as a verb in a sentence:
Books give the chance to affect (alter) people’s thinking.
Walking a dog is a well-known activity to affect (alter) blood pressure in a positive way.
Positive thinking affects (alters) the recovery time of patients after surgery.
Too much rain can affect the grape crop very badly.
Italy was affected by severe temperatures last year.
A manager’s attitude can affect all the staff.
His book affected me so deeply, I cried.
Going to war is going to affect everyone.
Reducing petrol use will affect the environment positively.
Note: The use of affect as a noun is applied to some psychological terms.
How to use EFFECT as a noun in a sentence:
The primary side effect (end result) of this drug is nausea.
Tax increases have an effect (end result) on the cost of retail goods.
Driving too fast will have an effect (end result) on your fuel consumption.
He noticed the effect of the medication very quickly.
The new speed limit in our street will come into effect tomorrow.
Littering has a negative effect on residents.
The speech he gave had a positive effect on his chances of being elected.
A dark wall color will have the effect of making the room feel much smaller.
I have no clue what effect this new government will have.
But be aware of effect as a verb
It is not used very often, but effect does have a verb form.
to effect – verb (with object)
To cause something to happen or to bring something about. The new CEO effected many new staff policy changes.
Keep in mind that affect is always a verb. But effect is usually a noun, but can sometimes be a verb.
The adjectives affective vs. 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.
affectivity |afɛkˈtɪvɪti| noun
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.
effectivity |ɪfɛkˈtɪvɪti| noun
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?
This 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.
You will probably never use affective for an adjective. But you will definitely use effective.
The adverb is used a lot, and it is always effectively.
It is very easy to remember the difference. Affect is a cause that alters something, and effect is an end result.
Now you can use these two commonly confused words with no confusion at all.
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