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Figure of Speech

Affect Vs Effect for Students and Children

The English language can be tricky and nowhere is this confusion as manifest as it is in the nitty-gritty of understanding words such as ‘affect and ‘effect’. Though there are innumerable mix-ups in English language which confuse the readers, not many have quite achieved the kind of confusion that comes with ‘affect’ and ‘effect’. Though they cannot exactly be called homonyms, these words do have a similar pronunciation but different spellings and meanings. Though they may sound alike, they do not belong to the same parts of speech. People often get confused as to whether they should type ‘e’ or ‘a’ while using these words. To understand the apt situation in which the word ‘affect’ or ‘effect’ must be used, you should have a clear idea of what each word means. You can also remember a simple rule that ‘affect’ is a verb and ‘effect’ is a noun. The word ‘affect’ is defined as, ‘To have an influence or cause a change in’ and the word ‘effect’ means, ‘Something brought about by a cause or agent; a result’. ‘Effecting’ is a noun and means executing an action, while ‘affecting’ is a verb which means influencing something. Detailed analysis follows.

Difference Between Affect and Effect

Usage Of Both Words

‘Affect’, in most of the cases, is used as a verb. Being used as a verb, it means ‘to influence something’ and to ‘to act in a way you do not essentially feel’. Thus, you can use ‘affect’ when trying to say that something or someone had an influence. The word ‘affect’ is not preceded by articles ‘an’ or ‘the’ as it is not a thing, but an action. While writing or speaking, check whether the word is being used as an action. If it is, you can use the word ‘affect’.

  • The damp and rainy day affected Harry’s mood.
  • Patty affected a cold attitude when she ran into her ex-boyfriend.

In some cases, ‘affect’ is also used as a noun. It is psychologists who use ‘affect’ as a noun to explain someone’s mood or emotional condition or a scientific jargon. ‘Affect’ is also used as an adjective which means ‘related to feelings, moods or emotions’. ‘Affect’ also means ‘to touch’, ‘to move’ and to ‘simulate’

  • Since his mother died, Jessie has displayed a depressed affect.
  • Carmen is studying effective behaviors in traumatized animals.
  • I was profoundly affected by this movie.
  • He likes to affect a British accent.

Effect, in all the cases, is used as a noun and stands for ‘result’. Thus, you will use the word ‘effect’ while trying to say that a change happened as a result of some specific incident. It also has a meaning ‘a personal item’ when used as a plural noun. So, use the word ‘effect’ if the preceding word is an article ‘take’, ‘into’ or ‘no’. The word ‘effect’ is something which you have or give. We use this word commonly, in relation to ‘fancy film making’.

  • The special effects of the movie were groundbreaking.
  • Ryan came over to collect his deceased father’s personal effects.

In rare cases, ‘effect’ is used as a verb which means ‘to bring about something or to achieve a task’.

  • As a nutritionist, Mary wanted to positively effect change in people’s lives.

Grammar Rules For ‘Affect And ‘Effect’

If you are talking about a result, you should use the word ‘effect’.

  • What effect did the loss have on the team?

If you want to explain something which was caused or brought about, ‘effect’ is the right word to be used.

  • The new manager effected some positive changes in the office.

If used along with a noun phrase or adjective, you should use the word ‘effect’.

  • After effect
  • Special effect
  • Greenhouse effect

Variant Meanings Of Affect And Effect

The word ‘affect’ means ‘to behave in an artificial way’ or ‘pretend’.

  • Madonna affected a British accent in her interview even though she was American.
  • Her mannerisms were affected. Her affectation of speech was easily noticed.

There are cases when the word means ‘fondness’.

  • Her affection for her family was great.She was very affectionate with them.

The word ‘effect’ means ‘power to influence’ or ‘to become operative’

  • Glamorous images have an effect on young girls.
  • The law will go into effect at the first of the year.

There are times when ‘effect’ is used which ‘to the effect’, ‘in effect’ and ‘a scientific effect’.

  • She became thin to the effect she was too weak to walk and fainted often.
  • They stopped hiring too-thin models which in effect meant the models would need to gain some weight to be hired.
  • The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby and so on.

Affected Versus Effected

Now that we know the difference between ‘affect and ‘effect’, let us go through the difference between ‘affected’ and ‘effected’.

  • ‘Affected’ means ‘acted upon in a certain way’. But, ‘this certain way’ will have many interpretations. A person who is infected can be called ‘affected’ and someone who has a mental condition can also be called ‘affected’. ‘Effected, means ‘reached or accomplished’. The new policy effected a substantial change on the entire education system.
  • The confusion in using affect and effect actually comes out of the fact that affecting leads to effect. The two questions ‘How were you affected?’ and ‘What was the effect in you?’ almost mean the same thing.

Both these words are so similarly spelled and pronounced that people tend to make mistakes while using them. The only way in which you can familiarize with these words is to understand their basic meaning and use them as far as possible in written form. Otherwise, they will continue to be one of the most searched words in Oxford dictionaries online. Do not delay in getting familiarized with these words; understanding them is the only way that you can keep them from being a headache for you.

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