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Affect and Effect

Two of the most frequently misused words are effect and affect. They sound similar, are spelled similarly, and quite frankly, and easy to get confused.

But we'll show you how to never confuse them again. And we'll do it quickly!

First, the word effect. In order to have an effect, there must be a cause - or something that happened in order for the effect to happen. This is called "cause-and-effect."

The word affect is used when you are showing that something has been changed, influenced, convinced, etc.

In most cases (but not all), effect will be used as a noun, while affect is used as a verb.

Example 1:
The loud music had an affect on my hearing.
As you can see in Example 1, affect is being used as a verb. Also, the loud music has changed, influenced, or convinced something - my hearing.

Example 2:
A side effect of taking the medicine is that you will get drowsy.
In example 2, you can see that if you take the medicine (cause), you will get drowsy (effect.)

If you're trying to decide whether to use effect or affect when writing, think about what the sentence is saying. If the sentence says something has happened because of something else, "effect" will likely be the word you will want to use. However, if the sentence says that something has been changed or altered, then be sure to use "affect."


And that effectively ends this quick lesson! Try another Writing Topic in the Writing Lesson Center!


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