Affect vs Effect And Why The Effects Affect Your Writing

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Affect vs Effect

There are 368,000 Google searches a month for affect vs effect – Houston, we have a problem.

The words affect and effect cause a lot of confusion. So let’s look at the cause and effect.

Learning the difference between affect and effect is easy, once you know that one is a verb and one is a noun.

When we speak, there is no problem with the usage of these two words because they are (almost) homonyms and we use facial expressions to make our meaning clear.

I say almost because there can be a slight difference depending on different English language accents and pronunciation.

Affect has a schwa sound whereas effect used a pure vowel sound.

effect |ɪˈfɛkt|

affect |əˈfɛkt|


However, in writing it is vitally important to use the correct parts of speech.

In general, effect is usually a noun and affect is usually a verb but they are commonly confused.

To affect means to have a negative or positive effect on something or someone, or to make a difference to something. In other words, it will produce an effect. 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 a result.

Because affect is a verb, it is placed after the subject and can be used in all tenses.

So it will be written as affect, affects, affected or affecting. It is commonly used in the passive voice. The game was affected by bad weather.

The word effect is a noun meaning the result, so it always takes an article. Either an, the, or the zero article when it is plural. An effect, the effect, effects.

It needs to be a mnemonic device. Or in other words, you need to practice to remember.


Related reading: Sometime vs Some Time or Sometimes


Affect vs effect examples

affect effect examples

Using AFFECT as a verb in a sentence:

Books give the opportunity 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.

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.

Losing the election didn’t affect her as much as I thought.

What a weird movie!. Did it affect you, too?

What you say does not affect my decision to change jobs.

Smoking can adversely affect your heart and blood flow.

The new airport will affect the housing price in that suburb.

Technology can affect young children’s early development.

Turmeric can affect a person’s blood pressure in a positive way.

My professor affected my self-confidence and helped me believe in what I was doing.

The government will pass a law that will affect everyone.

How long a student studies will affect his chances of passing.

Increasing the minimum monthly salary affects many families living on a low income.

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


Using EFFECT as a noun in a sentence:

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.

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 deep wall colour will have the effect of making the room feel much smaller.

I have no clue what effect this new government will have.

The special effects in the movie were absolutely spectacular.

Journalists can have a huge effect on swaying public opinion.

The effect of her vulgar language was apparent on the faces of the audience.

Scary music in horror movies gives the effect that something awful is about to happen.

Will seeing graphic images have an effect on people reducing or stopping smoking?

Plastic surgery will have an effect on her appearance, but at what price?

The accident had a terrible effect on her.

Sleeping for eight hours can have a positive effect on your health.

The two biggest effects of her promotion were an increase in salary and a new car.

How can I tell if the medicine has taken full effect?

Too much alcohol can have a negative effect on your professional life.


Related reading: Free Writing Software And The Best Free Writing Apps


But be aware of effect as a verb

While used infrequently, 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.

So be mindful that affect is always a verb and effect can be both a noun and a verb.


The adjectives affective vs effective

affective effective

affective |əˈfɛktɪv|


The word affective is an adjective and is generally used in a field of psychology and is roughly synonymous with emotional states relating to moods, attitudes feelings, and emotions.

It can denote or relate to mental disorders in which disturbance of mood is the primary symptom. She is suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

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

However, it is rarely used in everyday language.

Other forms
affectively adverb,
affectivity |afɛkˈtɪvɪti| noun

effective |ɪˈfɛktɪv|


Successfully producing an intended or desired result. She applied effective solutions to management problems.

When there is something existing but is not formally recognised. 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 a 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.


Would you prefer an explanation by video?

Let’s do it.


Understanding when to use a noun and when to use a verb is the key to choosing the correct word when deciding between affect vs effect.

If you use a verb for cause in the infinitive with to, or in a form using ed on ing, you must use affect.

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

You will probably never use affective, so for an adjective, you will use effective.

The adverb will always be effectively.

The easiest way to remember the difference is that affect is a cause and effect is a result.

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


Further reading: Lay Or Lie And How Easy It Is For Everyone To Get Them Wrong


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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