affect vs effect

What is the difference?

affect
definition: have an effect on; make a difference to
Examples:
  1. the dampness began to affect my health
  2. your attitude will affect how successful you are
Synonyms:
affect, influence, exert influence on, act on, work on, condition, touch, interact with, have an impact on, impact on, take hold of, attack, infect, strike, strike at, hit
effect
definition: a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause
Examples:
  1. the lethal effects of hard drugs
  2. politicians have some effect on the lives of ordinary people
Synonyms:
affect, influence, exert influence on, act on, work on, condition, touch, interact with, have an impact on, impact on, take hold of, attack, infect, strike, strike at, hit, result, consequence, upshot, outcome, out-turn, sequel, reaction, repercussions, reverberations, ramifications

affect vs effect

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!

1. affect

verb

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.

affect

Remember

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.

Examples for affect

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.)

2. effect

noun

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.

effect

Examples for effect

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.)

Takeaways - Tips

There are a few key differences to remember when figuring out the distinction between affect vs. effect.

Affect

Check your writing and see if affect can be replaced with influence, change, or even another verb.

Effect

Look at your use of effect and test out a synonym to see if you've used it appropriately.

Remember

Affect begins with "a" for action, and effect begins with "e" for the end result. Effect is commonly used as a noun and affect as a verb.

FAQs

When to use affect?

When to use effect?

How to remember affect vs. effect?

Commonly Confusing Words

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.

Check it out!