Affect vs. Effect | Examples, Definition & Difference
Affect and effect are two related words that are commonly confused. They’re pronounced similarly, and in their most common meanings they both refer to change, but they have different grammatical roles:
- Affect is a verb that describes the act of producing a change in someone or something.
- Effect is a noun that refers to the result or change itself, as in the phrase “cause and effect.”
|Examples: Affect in a sentence||Examples: Effect in a sentence|
|Staying up late tonight might affect your performance tomorrow.||Tourism has had a positive effect on the economy.|
|The result of the exam will affect your overall grade.||The fog created an eerie effect.|
|The independent variable affects the dependent variable.||The drug’s side effects are unknown.|
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Affect is typically a verb
As a transitive verb, affect is always used with an object. So you’ll always include the name of the person or thing being affected.
Effect is typically a noun
Effect is a noun meaning the result or consequence of a cause or action. It is often used along with an adjective (e.g., positive, negative, unexpected).
Effect is used for some expressions like “take effect” and “in effect.” It’s also related to the adjective “effective.”
Effect as a verb
When used as a verb, effect means “cause something to come into being.” It’s frequently followed by the word “change.”
Affect as a noun
When used as a noun, affect can refer to a visible emotional response. In this meaning, it’s pronounced with the first syllable stressed (aff-ect).
Affect to mean pretend
Affect can also be used (again as a verb) to describe someone pretending, or behaving in a way that is insincere, faked, or unnatural.
Worksheet: Effect vs. affect
You can test your understanding of the difference between “affect” and “effect” with the worksheet below. Fill in a version of “affect” or “effect” in each sentence.
- The weather might ______ our plan to go camping.
- This paper examines the ______ of global warming.
- Caffeine doesn’t ______ him.
- The scenery has a calming ______.
- If you want to ______ change, the first step is to raise awareness of the problem.
- He ______ an angry tone of voice.
- The weather might affect our plan to go camping.
- Here, “affect” is correct, as you’re referring to the act of producing a change.
- This paper examines the effects of global warming.
- Here, “effect” is correct, because you’re describing the results of something. The plural of “effect” is “effects.”
- Caffeine doesn’t affect him.
- “Affect” is a transitive verb, so it will always be used with an object. In this instance, the object is “him.”
- The scenery has a calming effect.
- “Effect” is often used along with an adjective (e.g., positive, negative, unexpected). In this instance, the adjective is “calming.”
- If you want to effect change, the first step is to raise awareness of the problem.
- “Effect” can sometimes be used as a verb meaning “cause something to come into being.” It’s frequently followed by the word “change.”
- He affected/affects an angry tone of voice.
- “Affect” can be used to describe behavior that is faked or insincere. The past simple form of “affect” is “affected”; the present form “affects” would also fit here.
Other interesting language articles
If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.
US vs. UK spellings
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