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How to Choose the Right Word for Your Writing

Ever sat down to write a piece of text and found yourself stuck on whether to use effect or affect? You’re not the only one!

In fact, learning the difference between affect vs effect is one of the most common questions people have, which is understandable seeing as they can both be verbs and nouns, and their meanings can overlap—triple threat! 

Here’s how to remember affect vs effect 

  • Affect is a verb (an action word)
  • Effect is a noun (an object word)

How to use affect:

Affect refers to a change being produced or an act taking place.

For example, “the hot weather affected the plants.” This implies that there has been a chance in the plants because of the heat. 

Another way you can use the verb affect is if you’re referring to the idea of moving the feelings of something or someone.

For example, “The performance deeply affected her,” meaning feelings and thoughts had been altered. 

When you want to imply some sort of chance or to describe an action taking place, you’ll want to use the word affect.

How to use effect:

You’ll most likely see effect used as a noun to talk about the consequence or result of something.

An example of this would be, “Her low mood was an effect of her failed driving test.” 

Used in this way, effect tells us the end result of something, whereas affect is talking about an action and an influence that something had on something else. 

Affect vs Effect in a Sentence 

Daisy pushes Stanley into the puddle. 

Daisy has affected where Stanley was standing (because there has been a change).

Stanley being wet is the effect of Daisy pushing him (falling into the puddle was the result of being pushed). 

Examples of When to Use Affect vs Effect

  • What effect did the loss have on the team?
  • Did her words have any effect on you?
  • The second cup of coffee had no effect on her
  • A surprising effect of winning the award was that her sister was jealous 
  • How will remote working affect our working hours?
  • If I take this class it will negatively affect my grade in my other classes
  • The weather today will affect my journey into work
  • You know smoking cigarettes will affect your skin as you get older, right? 

Using Effect and Affect in Sentences 

  • Scary movies can affect my sleep | Scary movies don’t have an effect on me
  • My mom’s opinion has affected my decision to go to college | My mom’s opinion has had an effect on whether I should pursue college
  • The car incident has affected my ability to drive alone | The car incident has had an effect on my ability to drive alone 

Here are additional examples of how to use affect and effect in your writing.

Common Mistakes People Make With the Affect vs Effect

You’ll see both affect and effect show up in more formal settings, especially in politics and on the news. It can get tricky to know which word to use when writing on your own. Let’s clear up some common misconceptions.

Is it Effect Change or Affect Change?

The right phrase here is “effect change,” because you’re saying you want to cause change.

You want there to be change as a result and remember, effect = result. 

For example, “As your new leader, I promise to effect change in the system,” which translates to “I want to bring about change.”

Is it Into Affect or Into Effect? 

The correct phrase in this instance is “into effect,” as we’re using the term as a noun to refer to something officially beginning.

For example, “These new rules will go into effect on Monday morning.” 

Is it Take Affect or Take Effect?

This is another phrase that often people get confused about. The right wording is “take effect,” as we’re referring to something beginning to apply. 

For example, “The new medication will begin to take effect within three hours.”

Essentially, the consequences of the medication will show soon.

In Summary: Effect vs Affect

Here’s an affect vs effect trick I like to use to remember which word I want to use:

  • Effect = results
  • Affect = change

When we use the word affect, we’re referring to something producing a change or influencing something.

For example, the weather will affect the traffic.

When we use the word effect, we’re talking about the result of the change.

For example, the effects of the weather has made the traffic heavier.

This is certainly a case of practice makes perfect so be sure to let us know how you get on with perfecting the difference. We hope this guide was helpful!

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