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Affect vs. Effect: Use the Correct Word

Affect vs. Effect

Often the English language can leave you feeling dumbstruck with tricky words which have the same meanings or sound similar. One such nomination for the confusion goes to the pair of words - Affect and Effect! In fact, most get confident that they are choosing 'affect' or 'effect' as the right word for the text, but alas! Most people have not been concerned that one of them is a verb and the other is a noun.

This is where the debate over Affect vs. Effect came into being. But, it will be a waste of time and, moreover, insane if you claim to support the word ‘affect’ or ‘effect’. What about learning the concepts between the two?

Well, that's what primarily this blog is about - Practically Learning the Use of Effects and Affects. Hence, bring your pen and notepad because you will explore a lot of examples enough to clear your doubt.

So, let's begin -


For learning every concept, the first thing is decoding the terms. Here, you will learn the definitions of affect and effect; do not worry if you are assuming it's a paragraph-long definition. It's just the meaning!

Now, the first thing is to learn the basic rules for affect or effect to help you clarify the proper use -

‘Effect’ is typically used as a noun (an object word). In contrast, ‘affect’ is typically used as a verb (an action word).

The verb affect signifies "to act on; result in a change in," as in, "The storm weather affected the crops."

(Basically, the storm resulted in damage to crops.)

The verb affect can also resemble "to impress someone, a mind or move the feelings of," as in "The music deeply affected his soul" (The music changed his feelings or perspectives). 

Meanwhile, employed as a noun, effect denotes a "result" or "consequence." 

A noun substitution exercise can help you determine whether the effect is the right word to use. For instance, "He got tan on his face which is an effect of direct exposure to sunlight."  

One more way to put it is, "His sunburn was a result of exposure to the sun."

There is another method for using the appropriate term almost always: the word 'RAVEN.'

R = Remember

A = Affect is a

V = Verb

E = Effect is a

N = Noun

Another technique to keep in mind for using affect and effect is as follows:

'A' stands for action (affect), and 'E' stands for outcome (effect). 


The words "Affect" and "Effect," which have very similar sounds, can actually turn a written prince into a completely different meaning. Imagine you are writing about 'The Side Affects of Painkillers' instead of 'Side Effects' – This will sound like 'one side got affected by the painkillers'. 

That's why it's important to keep in mind that "effect" and "affect" belong to separate word classes. 

There are more explanations in this context, have a look below -

  • Affect is a verb that implies influencing or having an impact on anything else. Although it can be used to refer to a wide range of things or topics, we can use it to discuss an emotional effect. Therefore, we could say, for instance, "they were touched by the touching story."
  • On the other hand, effect describes the outcome of a change, activity, or occurrence. Here, the sentence - "Eating healthy meal can have numerous positive effects" is an apt example.
  • Hence, the easiest way to comprehend this distinction is to remember that affect refers to having an impact on something, whereas effect refers to the outcome of something.


The most popular reason that makes effects and affects misplace their position is their pronouncing sounds.

Now, homophones are those that have the 'same' pronunciation yet completely different meanings. For example, 'there-their', 'sell-cell', 'hear-here' etc.

Interestingly, the words - effect and affect aren't homophones. Instead, they are called near homophones, words that sound quite similar but have different spellings and meanings.

Hence, here is a decoded step to follow the right pronunciation -

 You must pronounce the 'a' in affect and the 'e' in effect in order to avoid this trap.

To make it more specific, let's take the help of phonetics -

➔ When pronouncing 'Affect,' say -  [UH] + [FEKT] 

➔ When pronouncing 'Effect,' say - [i] + [FEKT]

The common elements in both words are - two syllables. However, you can understand how the words will sound.


From the beginning of this blog, you have witnessed numerous examples to learn the differences. However, it's always better to get more ideas, right?

On that note, let's look at how affect and effect must be used in speech or writing to highlight the differences between the two a little bit further. 

As was previously said, the verb affect describes something having an impact or an effect on it.

This effect could be emotional or of any feeling -

Here are some examples -

  • "Running thrice a week is positively affecting my blood circualtion."
  • "The heavy rainfall affected the region in severe landslides."
  • "He was deeply affected when he heard the sad news of his favorite singer."

However, the verb affect can also be used to denote "to fake something" in terms of 'feelings .'For example -

"Rachel tried to affect a headache to leave the class mid-way."

Next comes the most typical way to refer to an effect as a change or impact of an action or event as a noun. Read the below sentences -

  • "You can observe and take preventive measures for the disastrous effects of the earthquake."
  • "Healthy vegan eating can have positive effects on your gut health."

However, when 'effect' is used as a verb, things can start to get complicated. 'To cause something to happen or bring about a change' is the meaning of the verb 'effect. Thankfully, this usage of the term "effect" is uncommon. 

Here is an illustration of it:

"The elected party effected a drastic change to the existing system of education to make them fairer."

The above sentence is a rare case in normal conversation or in writing. Apart from that, the above examples are the common ways of using affect and effect.


Do you know, even after multiple practices, why often a candidate stays behind in scoring the most in IELTS? When completing the paper, they often forget the homework of common terms like 'affect and effect.'

To avoid such mistakes, here are some memory techniques to aid in your ability to distinguish between these two terms' differences. Check below -

  • First thing first, follow the alphabetic order - affect starts with an 'a', and effect begins with an e. This means when 'affects' happens, it results in 'effects’. In other words, without 'affect', there cannot be 'effect' and vice versa.
  • You also have mnemonic devices often related to a technique or method for remembering things. You can make an idea or fact into images, stories, or even sounds to help you remember these words. 
  • Try to practice by solving some hypothetical situations.

For example - Imagine a man with a black coat and red cap scolding the boy in a blue shirt and pants. He then began to cry. Visualize the narrative in your head. Hear the sarcastic remarks and sobs. Identify "affect" with the harsh remarks and "effect" with the sobs. 

With the above example, you are strongly reminded of the distinction between affect and effect by a sensory experience.


Remember, there was a hint above for a lot of examples; well, here they are! Every concept of grammar in English vocabulary can be learned successfully when you apply them in various ways. 

Hence, below is a list of examples of using affect and effect that will ultimately end the tug of war between affect vs effect. 

Note - Before going through the examples, know that some of these sentences have the context of 'affect and effect,' but their synonymous words are applied, such as - 'impact.' This is for the purpose of bringing more clarity to your understanding.

Read below and start learning -

Make use of the verb "affect" to signify "to influence" or "to cause a change." 

Despite having a variety of connotations, the word "affect" is frequently employed as a verb with a meaning akin to "produce." Now, the word "affect" is often used to indicate one particular thing has brought an effect on another.

To clarify this usage of the word "affect," Here are a few instances -

  • It's difficult to predict how petrol prices will affect the economy.
  • Being raised by a nanny significantly affectedwho I am now.
  • Someone who can affectyou greatly might win your affection as well.

Use the verb "affect" to mean "to pretend" or "to put on airs." 

The word "affect" is also used to describe when someone behaves differently than usual. When someone adopts a new personality or appearance, they are "affecting" their new characteristics.

Here are a few instances of the term "affect" in this context:

  • Richard tried to appear unaffecteddespite the fact that the remarks had deeply hurt him.
  • For the role of Lady Macbeth, Amanda, normally jovial, was able to affect a cold sneer of cruelty.

Use the term "affect" to denote "mood" or "mental state."

The word "affect" is also used to describe how someone seems or behaves, frequently in a psychological sense. The way someone "seems" from the outside is a good approach to describe their "affect."

Here are a few instances of the term "affect" in this context:

  • The gambler's flat, emotionless behaviorserved him well at the poker table.
  • Dr Robin realized that the way the patient got affected had responded well to the regimen of antipsychotics.

Apply the word "effect" for denoting "the outcome of a cause." 

People often mean the definition of "effect" with an "E" when they misuse the word "affect" with an "A." In this context, an "effect" is the opposite of a cause—an event that occurs as a result of another triggering event.

Here are a few instances of the word "effect" in this context:

  • What impactthe rising cost of petrol will have on the global economy is difficult to predict?
  • Having extremely unclean feet is a negative side effect of not wearing shoes.
  • Numerous victims are still dealing with the gloomy repercussions of the hurricane, which resulted in innumerableeffects.

Use the noun "effect" with a meaning akin to "impression." 

A second definition of the term "effect" has to do with the impression or feeling that a person, thing, or event leaves behind. These "effects" may be emotional, psychological, or physical.

Here are a few instances of the word "effect" in this context:

  • Taylor Swift's new song witnessed a moving effecton the listeners in the auditorium.
  • The recent Alzheimer's experimental drug has a record of having a calming feelingon rats, though it is not yet ready for human trials.

Use the verb "effect" to signify "to bring about." 

This definition of "effect" is problematic because it can be used to indicate "to cause or influence," just like the word "affect." The definitions of the two words are almost identical, yet they still convey slightly different ideas: "effect" denotes a cause that brings about or achieves a change, whereas "affect" implies a cause or force that changes something.

Here are a few instances of the word "effect" in this context:

  • The manager demanded that the employees work extra hours to effecta complete overhaul of the company's product line.
  • The coach's actions in the changing room effecteda change in the player's performance.

Use the term "effect" to denote a "personal possession."

Finally, a slightly dated usage of the word "effect" is to refer to a person's personal belongings, such as their wallet, phone, keys, souvenirs, jewelry, diary, etc. The word "effect" in this context is generally always used in the plural, as in "personal effects."

Here are a few instances of the word "effect" in this context:

  • The old man's personal effectswere scattered across the living room, but the man himself was missing for days.
  • The little boy skipped through the forest, choosing rocks and flowers as his personal effects as he went.

Stay aware of some exceptional use of affect & effect

For the terms to be used correctly in context, you need to be aware of a few exceptions.

  • Affect can function as a noun at times. In psychology, affect is typically expressed as nouns. But in essence, it denotes an "observable emotional response." 

For instance: 'Despite watching the accident up close, his affect remained the same.'

  • The effect may occasionally be used as a verb. Its meaning as an action word is "to accomplish" or "to bring into being." Consequently, it's crucial to grasp and distinguish between the words. 

Learn through similar clues in similar sentences

In the sentences "My confidence was greatly affected by my mother's encouragement" and "My mother's encouragement led to a great effect by increasing my confidence," the contextual clues are the -ed ending on "affect" and the article "a" before "negative effect."

Again, in these two examples, an adverb (positively) helps clarify the direction of the change ("affect"), and an adjective (positive) helps clarify the type of "effect." 

These modifiers offer additional contextual clues. Moreover, they indicate that a sentence may be clarified by avoiding the terms "effect" and "affect" altogether!

Here is the last tip before signing off!

  • Go for an alternative word

A verb is an action, and the word "affect" begins with the letter A.

But if you're unsure about using affect as a verb, go with an alternative word like impact or a more precise verb. 

For instance, you may write 'The weather affected her holiday plans' and can be replaced with 'The weather ruined her travel plans.'

A grammatical article could be used before nouns, so identify the noun's impact with one.

You can also use accident & emergency in the context of affect. After all, an emergency results from an accident that affects you.

Final Words,

Coming so far in this blog, you might feel that it's no big deal to rectify the misconceptions of affect and effect. But in reality, different sentences and contexts with respect to these two words will confuse you and question your 12 to 15 years of learning English Grammar!

But that's nothing to be shy about; it's obvious to get puzzled or mistake similar words and their meanings or pronounce them correctly. That's why this blog has solved the mystery for you with a detailed guideline on the use of affect and effect.

Hence, why the delay? Save the suggestions above and start applying!

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