Affect Vs Effect: The Only Guide you Need

Grammar is the earliest thing we learn in elementary English class, but many of us put it down the drain and replace our memories with more important things while growing up. Aside from tenses and commas, differentiating affect and effect also happened to be a common writing problem. The reason why its hard to differentiate them both is that they’re both homophones (they sound similar but have different definitions. Examples of similar homophones are bear/bare, quiet/quite etc.)  

When to use Affect

Cambridge dictionary defines affect as 

Affect (verb): to have an influence on someone, or to cause a change in something

Examples: John’s sour attitude affects his poor performance today. 

        Her grandfather’s last words will always affect Sally as a person. 

Examples of articles using the word affect:

From Psych Central

“…rain and higher temperatures statistically and substantively decreasing life satisfaction, consistent with the affect results.” 

From CNBC

“Coronavirus outbreak unlikely to affect auto production, says one of India’s top carmakers

When to use effect         

Definition:

Effect (noun):   the result of particular influence:    

Examples: The rainy season causes poor health effects for the kittens. 

        The donations and volunteers bring a positive effect on the community.      

Examples of articles using the world effect:

From World Metrological Organization:

“The frigid airmass is also supporting heavy lake effect snows downwind of the Great Lakes.”

From New York Times:

“Some economists assume that those effects will quickly dissipate, leading to a revival in the consumer economy within months.”

Affect Vs Effect

In conclusion, ‘affect’ is a verb and ‘effect’ is a noun. DING DING. To differentiate them easier, refer them to the cause and effect theory.

‘Affect’ (A) is the cause and ‘effect’ (B) is the effect in this case. 

So the action is (A) and the consequence is (B). 

For example, Michael (A) steals Miller’s (B) textbook. Miller is a model student in the class, but he is punished for not bringing his textbook. Michael’s naughty behavior affects Miller’s clean reputation in the school. Miller feels angry at Michael for this. 

So in this story:

 A (Michael)  affects B (Miller)

 B (Miller) experiences the effect of A’s (Michael) action.

Because Michael performs an action, that signals the use of a verb: affect. The effect verb is a noun that causes Miller to be angry at Michael’s behavior. 

So in a nutshell:

AffectEffect
Is a verbIs a noun
The action of a verbThe consequences of a verb
CauseEffect

Another way to remember ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ is using the RAVEN rule from Writing Cooperative:

R= REMEMBER

A= AFFECT IS

V= VERB

E= EFFECT IS

N= NOUN

Now we will get to the exercise section. You can mentally do the assignment and scroll below to get the answers. Please don’t cheat!

‘Affect’ vs ‘Effect’ quiz:

  1. Eric’s absence in the workplace affects/effects the workplace’s productivity. 
  2. The Corona Virus gives a bad affect/effect to China’s reputation in the world.
  3. There are no books aside from J.K Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series that has affected/effected me in such a way
  4. The factory’s oil waste affects/effects our central river in the city.
  5. Because we misused plastic, many marine animals died due to the affect/effect of our actions. 

Answer key:

  1. Affects
  2. Effect
  3. Affected
  4. Affects
  5. Effect

Published by Caroline Natasia Cahyadi

I am an adult, yet I spend my free time crying over fictional characters, eating chocolate and thanking Jesus Christ for dying on the cross for a crybaby like me.

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