Results 1 to 3 of 3

    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 1

    Wink When to use effect rather than affect

    Is there a straightforward way of explaining when to use effect rather than affect?

    Thank you


  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: When to use effect rather than affect

    Welcome, diane.adam.
    Yes, there is a very quick and easy method, but the walk-through is kind of long.

    First, let's take a look at why they are notorious confuseables.

    effect and affect are often pronounced the same. They both have primary stress on the second-syllable,


    and so the vowel in the first-syllable is often unstessed, pronounced as schwa ə (the vowel sound in the):


    The verbs effect and affect are semantically fuzzy because they're near synonyms. Effect means create/cause, whereas affect means to influence/cause. How do we get around that? Well, one way is context. Take a look at these sentences below, and instead of thinking "effect? affect?" think "cause/create?" or "infleunce?":

    He caused/created a commotion in class. <effected>
    => He didn't influence a commotion; she caused it.

    She caused a revolution with her essay on exam grading. <effected>
    => She didn't influence a revolution; she caused it.

    I want to cause/create a change in the way things are done. <effect>
    => Not influence, but CHANGE.

    How does your budget influence your social life? <affect>
    => Your budget can't cause your social life.

    The movie influenced her greatly. <affected>
    => The movie didn't cause her greatly.

    My mood can influence my thinking. <affect>
    => It influences my thinking, not causes it.

    My headache influenced my ability to concentrate in the exam. <affected>
    => It didn't cause my ability...

    Note, there are more examples for the verb affect than there are for the verb effect because the verb effect isn't as common or popular.

    Verbs & Nouns
    Effect and affect have dual grammatical functions. They can function as a verbs and as nouns.

    effect (verb) to cause <not as commonly used as affect (verb)>
    affect (verb) to influence <commonly used>

    effect (noun) result <always used>
    affect (noun) emotion <special usage> It's pronounced A-ffect

    When in doubt, use affect as a verb and effect as a noun. The noun affect is a specialized term, used by psychologists and social scientists, but it pops up now and then on our side of the world,

    Ex: She showed little emotion when told she won the lottery. <affect>

    As for the noun effect, there are tricks to remembering where to use it. Nouns take nominal markers like these ones: a, an, the, prepositions, adjectives (e.g., 'little' in the example above):

    an effect
    the effect
    a great effect
    into effect
    no effect
    take effect ('take' is a verb; 'effect' is its nominal object)
    an effective point (adjective)

    Morever, you can replace the noun with the words "result" or "emotion" to see if you should effect or affect, respectively.

    Try these. Replacement is a quick and easy method. Remember cause, infleunce; look for a, an, the, etc.' result, emotion.

    The applause showed how deeply the presentation had _____________ the audience.
    His attitude was _________________ by his upbringing.
    What ____________ do you think the news will have on her?
    No matter what he does, it will have no _____________ on me.
    No matter what he does, it will not __________________ me.
    What do you think the _______ of the decision will be?
    How did her son's departure _________________ Mrs. Sanago?
    How was the team _______________ by the loss of their coach?
    I was impressed by the _______________ of Churchill's words on Britain during that time.
    Do you know what ____________ that medicine will have on you?

    All the best.

    Spelling: Accept/Except and Affect/Effect
    Effect vs. Affect | Grammar Rules
    Language Corner: Affect/Effect
    Lesson Tutor : How Does the Effect Affect You? Learn when to use each correctly. <THE ANSWERS are here>
    Last edited by Casiopea; 17-Feb-2007 at 19:09.

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 1

    Re: When to use effect rather than affect

    I want to thank you all for this dialogue.

    I am teaching ESL for 6-8 graders in Vietnam and this issue was just brought up last week--students do not know the difference between these 2 words, and yet they often appear on their tests.

    I will use some of this info to effect a change (hopefully).

    Since they are struggling 6-8th graders in Vietnam, I will start with the verb (affect) and the noun (effect) split and allow for some practice before I go into the rest of the material.


Similar Threads

  1. effect or affect.
    By AVAMAK in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Jun-2006, 19:49
  2. affect or effect?
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Mar-2005, 23:20
  3. effect and affect
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-May-2003, 12:21


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts