English is the most spoken language globally between both native and non-native speakers. But while many know and love it, tricky word pairs like “affect” and “effect” create confusion. The words affect and effect are as English as they come. Still, their grammatical differences can make even the most experienced experts uncertain.
When to Use Affect and Effect
Affect and effect might sound and look alike, but they are very different when you consider language rules.
Affect is basically a verb, which means that it describes an action, occurrence, or state. When used in a sentence, affect describes change or action that transforms something from one state into another.
- The hot California weather affected the runners participating in the cross-country marathon.
- The traumas of his childhood affected his personality as an adult.
- Your laziness might affect your chances of graduating at the end of the year.
On the other hand, effect is a noun, a word that names a person, place, idea, or thing. Writers usually use effect when describing the consequences of actions that preceded an event. A common replacement for effect in a sentence is “result.”
- The effects of eating healthily can be profound on one’s health.
- If you notice any unexpected side effects, contact your physician immediately.
- His back pain was an effect of poor sitting postures at work.
- The effects of early morning coffee are amazing!
As seen from the examples, the words affect and effect are very different. To become an ardent writer or speaker, knowing how to distinguish them is important. Always remember that when you are talking about results, use effect. When focusing on changes or influences, the word affect is what you want.
Exceptions When Using Affect and Effect
There are exceptions to using affect or effect. In some cases, you can use affect as a noun to explain emotions or feelings. For example, a doctor might say that a patient had a “flat affect” to mean that their reactions did not match those normally exhibited.
Affect can also be used as an adjective when used as affected. in literature, affected is used to mean artificial or pretentious. For example, one might say that a student’s performance was affected by their behavioral challenges.
To recap, when using affect or effect, take note of their placement within a sentence and the meaning you want to communicate. Simply, affect refers to the influence or impact on something while effect is an outcome or result.