It is easy to confuse between two words when they sound almost the same. It becomes even more confusing when those two words share the same spelling with only one different letter. “Affect” and “effect” – even though carry different meanings and have different use in a sentence – have a few things in common which create confusion among people.
In this blog, we will try to highlight all the major elements of the affect vs. effect comparison and provide enough insights into the differences between affect and effect.
Before learning about the differences between the words, it is important to understand the actual meaning of affect and effect.
The word “affect” is generally used as a verb, and it means "to act on" or "produce an effect in”. For example: The heavy rain has affected the traffic. (The heavy rain has produced an effect in the traffic.)
In some cases, “affect” can be used to mean “to influence the mind or move the feelings of”. For example: The sudden revelation affected him very badly. (The sudden revelation influenced his mind very badly.)
The word “effect” is generally used as a noun, and it means “consequence” or “result”. For example: His poor grades were the effect of his negligence towards studies. (His poor grades were the result of his negligence towards studies).
“Effect” also appears in two common idioms – “take effect” and “in effect”.
By looking at their definition, you can see how different those two words are.
If you are still confused between effect and affect, there’s a simple technique that can help you remember their basic difference. The technique is called RAVEN.
If you can remember this, you will be able to use these two words correctly in the respective sentences. However, you should know that there are several exceptions to the use of affect and effect in sentences.
The Exception of the RAVEN Rule
Generally, "affect" is used as a verb and "effect" is used as a noun. However, that is not always the case. While learning the effected vs. affected rule, it is important to know about the exceptions.
“Effect” can be used as a verb in a sentence, and in that case, it will mean “to bring about”. This verb is generally followed by a noun such as “solution” or “change”.
For example: Social media now has the potential to effect change in people’s opinion. (Social media now has the potential to bring about change in people’s opinion.)
It is important to note that if you have used "affect" as a verb in the aforementioned sentence, it would have meant "to have an effect", which was different than what it meant when used "effect" as a verb.
Even though “affect” is generally used as a verb, it can also be used as a noun in some cases. The noun version of the word refers to “emotion”, “feeling” or “a particular emotional response”.
For example: Her affect was overwhelming when she met her father after two years. (Her emotional response was overwhelming when she met her father after two years.)
As you can see the noun form of affect fits perfectly in the sentence. If you have used “effect” here, it would have delivered a different meaning.
The past participle form of a verb is often used as an adjective. The same thing goes for "affect". The word "affected" is often used as an adjective in a sentence. It means something that is "pretentious" “unnatural” or “artificial”.
For example: Even though his joke wasn’t funny, we gave it an affected laugh. (Even though the joke wasn’t funny, we gave it an unnatural laugh.)
When you are going to use effect, affect or affected in a sentence, pay attention to the context. It will help you decide which word fits better in the sentence. Hopefully, the blog has provided enough insights into the issue of affect vs. effect.
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