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

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.

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