Affect vs Effect

June 28, 2011

in Creative writing

At the writingsite.org we like to cover as many of your queries as possible, and one in particular that keeps cropping up time and time again is “Affect vs Effect”. People often confuse these two words, applying them incorrectly. So without further ado let’s solve this common query.

When To Use The Word Affect

Affect with an “A” means “to influence”, so for example:

–       “The wind affected the way her hair looked”.

–       “I hope my cold doesn’t affect my study time”.

–       “His divorce affected his finances”.

When To Use The Word Effect

Effect with an “E” means to “be a result of”, so for example:

–       “The effect the wind had on her hair was amazing”.

–       “My cold has a negative effect on my study time”.

–       “His divorce was a negative effect on his finances”.

Quick Techniques For Remembering The Difference

When unsure you can double check yourself by thinking of these two examples:

–       “I had an effect on someone”.

–        “It affected me quite badly”.

Recite these two sentences and the sentence you are querying for effect or affect will quickly fall into place.

Another way you can analyse your usage is by looking at the following two common phrases:

–       “Special effects”.

–       “Cause and effect”.

You wouldn’t say “special affects” or “cause and affect”.

You might want to develop your own little reminder tricks, but feel free to use these.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anthony Miller July 10, 2011 at 10:22 am

Here’s a suggestion: My kids were noticeably affected by the stunning visual and sound effects in the movie.

Reply

peter July 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

That’s a good example Anthony. Thank you.

Reply

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