Quick English: Affect and Effect

affect and effect


Affect and effect are two English words with very similar meanings and very similar pronunciations. However, they are not homophones like we have seen previously on the blog, because there is still a difference in pronunciation. Because the words are so similar, lots of people (native English speakers included!) have trouble telling the difference and use them incorrectly in sentences.

It's actually quite easy once you know how.  The majority of the time you use affect with an “a” as a verb and effect with an "e" as a noun.



To affect someone or something means "to influence".

               > The change in weather has affected the garden.

               > The film affected him deeply.

               > The pain in his foot affected the way he played football.



The word effect is most often used as a noun. It often means "a result".

               > The sound effects were amazing.

               > The rain had no effect on the bride on her wedding day.

               > Studying has a big effect on your exam grades.

Very rarely, effect is used as a verb and means "to bring about," "to cause," or "to achieve". It is often used in very formal English.

               > The best way to effect change is to work together.


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