Difference Between Affect and Effect in English Grammar

Affect vs Effect in English Grammar

Difference between affect and effect is a fact that we must know if we are to use English properly as these two are commonly used words in English. People are used to confusing these two words, affect and effect, due to the similarity in their meaning. The simplest way to not confuse them is to remember that affect is always a verb while effect is used as a noun most of the time. There are times when effect is used as a verb too. This article explains the difference between affect and effect as much as possible.

What does Affect mean? What does Effect mean?

Affect and Effect are two closely related words, for example, see the following sentence:

“we were all deeply affected when the government effected a tax increase.”

Primarily the word effect is a noun (meaning outcome or consequences) and affect a verb (meaning to transform or to change). When you affect something, you produce an effect on it. See the following examples:

“How will the election affect the economy of the country? What effect will it have on the economy? I do not see how that is affecting the economy of the country.”

“Do not allow this incident to affect your decision.” “What effect did this incident have on your decision?”

The word effect may occasionally used as a verb and there are rare situations where affect is used as a noun. The word effect, when used as a verb means to execute, produce, or accomplish something, as in the following sentences.

“The election at last effected the change the people had been hoping for.”

“Martin Luther King Jr effected a change in the thinking of the American people.”

Affect is used as a noun primarily by psychologists to refer to feelings and desires as factors in thought or conduct. The patient exhibited a flat affect, responding to no stimuli.

The easiest way to remember the difference between affect and effect is to remember that affect is a verb and effect is a noun.

“The rains affected the commuters worst, and the effect was that most of them reached home late that night.”

“The untimely death of his mother affected his performance to the effect that he failed his semester exams.”

Difference Between Affect and Effect

What is the difference between Affect and Effect?

The Oxford dictionary presents the best explanation for the two words affect and effect in the following manner:

Affect and effect are quite different in meaning, though frequently confused. Affect is primarily a verb meaning ‘make a difference to,’ as in “their gender need not affect their career”. Effect, on the other hand, is used both as a noun and a verb. As a noun, it gives the meaning ‘a result’. For example, “move the cursor until you get the effect you want,” or “bring about a result.” It can be used as a verb too as in “growth in the economy can only be effected by stringent economic controls.


Affect vs Effect

• Affect is primarily used as a verb; effect can be used both as a noun and a verb, but primarily used as a noun.

• On rare occasions affect is used as a noun and effect is used as a verb.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Affect and Mood
  2. Difference Between Cause and Effect
  3. Difference Between Impact and Effect