Affect vs. effect is probably the most searched-for query in English grammar history, and the difference between these two words can drive people crazy. But don't worry! Here we'll explain when to use affect and effect and give you tools so you can choose the right word every time!
Affect normally functions as a verb. Affect as a verb means to impact, change, alter, or modify. If you replace the word affect with change or impact, and the sentence still makes sense, you've got the right word.
Affect occasionally functions as a noun when mentioning emotions or in psychological contexts when referring to facial expressions or gestures.
Remember that affect starts with the letter "a," and so does an action. So, you can remind yourself of affect by remembering that actions indicate verbs.
Global warming is affecting the state of the world we live in.
Your mental health can affect your physical health.
The Queen's death has affected the line to the throne.
Taking care of yourself can affect your life in positive ways.
Smoking can affect your lung capacity.
The baby's facial expressions and gestures had a humorous affect. (Affect as a noun, uncommon.)
Effect, however, usually functions as a noun. Effect starts with the letter "e." So, you can remind yourself of this troublesome word by remembering that affect is related to the change of action, and effect is the consequences of it.
Effect is sometimes used as a noun, and it refers to the consequence of an action; think of it as the outcome or result.
The new subway will have huge effects on local communities.
Music and soothing sounds have a positive effect on childhood development.
Her tanned skin was a direct effect of sun exposure.
The effects of Covid-19 are still being felt today.
Our new strategy is likely to effect positive changes in our company. (Effect as a verb, uncommon.)
Our new project is going to effect positive changes in our office. (Effect as a verb, uncommon.)
There are a few key differences to remember when figuring out the distinction between affect vs. effect.
Check your writing and see if affect can be replaced with influence, change, or even another verb.
Look at your use of effect and test out a synonym to see if you've used it appropriately.
When to use affect?
When to use effect?
How to remember affect vs. effect?
Spell checkers don't always have you covered. Sometimes your word might be spelled correctly, but it could be the wrong word. In English, there are lots of confusing terms that look alike but are spelled differently, and many terms that mean the same thing but are easily misused.
Here are the most commonly confusing word pairings, with definitions and examples of their usage.