Confusing words: Affect and Effect

Affect and effect are two words that are commonly confused.

affect is usually a verb (action) – effect is usually a noun (thing)

Hint: If it’s something you’re going to do, use “affect.” If it’s something you’ve already done, use “effect.”

To affect something or someone.

Meaning: to influence, act upon, or change something or someone.

For example: The noise outside affected my performance.

The use of “effect” as a verb is what causes the most confusion between these two words.

To have an effect on something or someone.

!Note: effect is followed by the preposition on and preceded by an article (an, the)

Meaning: to have an impact on something or someone.

For example: His smile had a strange effect on me.

!Effect can also mean “the end result”.

For example: The drug has many adverse side effects.

!Note – Just remember: “affect” = to influence, and “effect” = to bring about.

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