Ask the Editor
Archive
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Affect and Effect
Friday February 19th 2021
Question
What is the difference between 'effect' and 'affect'? — Wajid, Chad
Answer

Most often, 'affect' is a verb and 'effect' is a noun. When 'affect' is used as a verb it means "to act on something and cause a change." When 'effect' is used as a noun it means "a change that results when something is done." Below are some examples of each word:

  • The bad weather will affect our ability to drive.
  • Our house wasn't affected by the power outage.
  • He hopes the new management will have a positive effect on customer satisfaction.
  • What effect does the medicine have on the heart?
  • The children were studying cause and effect in science.
  • We kept the problem from affecting our friendship.

 

Sometimes 'effect' is used as a verb to mean "to cause something to happen." It is often used in the phrase "to effect change."

  • The activists hoped to effect positive social change in their community.

 

Less commonly 'affect' is used as a noun to mean "the facial expressions that go along with an emotion."

  • The girl has a surprisingly flat [=emotionless] affect even when she's happy.

 

Most often when you see 'affect' it is a verb, and most often when you see 'effect' it is a noun.

 

I hope this helps.

Have you tried our kids' vocabulary app, Puku? It's a great study tool for ages 8-12!

 puku

For more posts about words, idioms, grammar, and usage, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Don't forget to subscribe to our Word of the Day e-mails!

Click here to try one of our vocabulary quizzes before you go!

Archive