Affect vs. Effect – Difference You Need to Know!

For many years until now the one question that has puzzled so many is:

“What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Or for that matter the simple question,

“Why is the sky so high?”

Joining the bandwagon of perplexing and unanswered questions is one that will alarm and entice all the Grammar Nazis as well. So, ready or not here comes the question of all questions,

“What is the difference between affect and effect?”

Affect vs Effect

It is quite evidently easy to mix up and interchange the usage of affect or effect. Probably that’s why people often get away with it so easily.  How many of you have faced the same confusion? And, how many of you have paused when trying to figure whether it is correct to say “will be with affect from” or will it be “with effect from”? 

We are pretty sure a lot of hands may have shot up almost instantaneously. Let’s explain to you why these 2 words act as a slippery bar of soap every time you try to use them. 

Here, we introduce yet another not so friendly English term, HOMOPHONES!

What homophones are we will get to in a while, but before that let us see a few statements?

  • There are very few books left.
  • Their house is very beautiful.

For those of you, who are still confused, let us shed more light. Homophones are words which have almost the same spelling and when you say them out loud, they sound almost the same too! This is one major reason as to why most of us get confused even while using the words affect and effect. 

To understand this is the most effective way, let us first understand what each of these words means. 

AFFECT: affect is a verb form which means some external factor which produces or causes some kind of a change. The important thing to take note of is that affect is a verb. A verb is a word which shows some kind of action, which is what “affect” does.

For example, the sun affects the growth of the plants. 

EFFECT: Effect is the noun form which indicates the event when a change has occurred. Again, the important thing to take note of here is that effect is the noun form. A noun is simply a word given to any name, place, animal or thing! 

For example, the effect of him failing the exam was glaring. 

Homophones happen to be just one cause for these words to be confusing. However, another major reason why this complexity occurs is that their definitions are also related.

Whether or not the definitions of both these words, helped put a little perspective on the unending confusion of when to use affect and when to use effect, is yet another puzzle. There are certain exceptions to English Grammar, which can’t be cleared easily. 

So, let’s pick up our effective spades and dig a little deeper into the rules of grammar. 

Earlier we mentioned that affect is a verb form, however, there are times when it can take the form of a noun as well (things just got a tad bit confusing!)

For instance, let’s take a look at an example:

  •   The young boy’s facial expressions had absolutely no affect.

Now, let’s take a look again at the usage of the word effect. We learnt earlier that the word effect is a noun, which points towards a certain event. Along with this, there is another rule to keep in mind. The word effect mostly succeeds the words such as the, into, on and take. 

While this applies to effect, it does not hold true for the word affect. In the case of effect as well, there are times when it can be used as a verb. Here, we will take a look at one such scenario.

  •   Sara’s new friend is bound to effect positive changes in her life. 

The effective uses of affect without letting it affect the meaning? 

We sure do hope that by now you might have some clarity regarding the usage and application of these rather 2 confusing words! It may still seem like a challenge to know when to use affect and when to use effect, but the more you practice and make mistakes the more you will understand it all!

English is one such language which has mastery at producing exceptions when it comes to those of Grammar. This small twist applies to the words ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ as well. 

Before we sign off, here is a small hint that might make it easy for you all. 

  •   A(ffect) – where A stands for some action (it always takes the form of a verb) 
  •   E(ffect) – where E stands for the end result (mostly takes the form of a noun)

We sure do hope that by the end of this you all master the difference between effect and affect. Happy selecting!

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October 11, 2019

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