What's the Difference Between Affect vs. Effect?
As a content writer, you're tasked every day with providing scintillating prose that, of course, is grammatically pristine. Errors in your writing can have a harmful effect on your reputation and also affect the number of people who read and enjoy your writing. Speaking of perfect grammar, knowing the differences, and correct usage, of the words, effect vs. affect is vital if you're keen on being a conscientious content writer.
Here's the thing; both affect and effect can be used as nouns and verbs, which is highly unusual as far as English words go. Sure, affect is usually used as a verb while effect is typically a noun, but as with many things in our illustrious language, there are several exceptions to these rules. We'll look at them below, so you're never affected by grammar mistakes when using them both.
There is a World of Difference Between Affect vs Effect
As homophones, affect vs effect sound almost exactly alike but are vastly different in their meaning and usage. That makes knowing when and where to use them essential when writing. That way, you don't end up with a sentence that communicates a considerably different meaning than you intended.
Affect is a Verb but also a Noun
As we mentioned earlier, affect is most often used as a verb. It means to alter or change, or when one thing influences another. Interestingly, affect can also mean to pretend or feign something. And, just to make things even more interesting, affect can also be used as a noun and, when it is, refers to a person's demeanor or behavior.
Here are a few excellent examples of affect being used as a verb to mean change, alter or influence:
• Climate change is affecting the planet at a faster rate every year. (In this example, affecting means alter or change, both verbs.)
• The singer affected them very much, as seen by their reaction.
• A single worker's negativity can affect the entire company's spirit.
• Her parents' opinion did not affect Debbie's decision to go to law school.
• Texas has been severely affected by flooding over the last few years.
Now some examples of affect being used to mean to feign, pretend or falsely do something:
• Robert affected an English accent even though he was from Brooklyn, New York.
• When Sheila enters a room, she affects an air of calm, fierceness, and distinction.
• Upon hearing the news of his wife's death, the murderer affected an attitude of surprise.
• To stay home from school, Billy affected a cough and told his mom he didn't feel well.
Lastly, here are some examples of the word affect used as a noun:
• Although gravely ill, the patient's facial expression had an amusing affect.
• With little affect, Robert took the news of his wife divorcing him and moving in with his best friend.
• As she prepared to jump off the cliff into the water below, Susan affected a nonchalant attitude even though she was terrified.
• After reading a well-written piece of content, some readers can be affected for days.
Affect is a Noun but also a Verb
The word effect is most often used as a noun, but to make things fun (and slightly confusing), it can also be used as a verb in some situations. Effect as a noun has several meanings that are wildly different, also. For example, effect typically means that a change has been made to someone or something due to the actions or consequences of someone or something else.
Effect can also refer to the sights, sounds, and scenery in some types of entertainment, mostly movies and television. Lastly, as a verb, effect means to cause something to happen.
Here are a few excellent examples of effect being used as a noun to mean a change that is the direct consequence of an action or other cause:
• Celine Dion's singing has the effect of making the audience cry tears of joy.
• Beverly thought that the red walls of her kitchen gave the effect of being hot.
• The Covid-19 rules put into effect in 2020 are slowly being withdrawn.
• Even though it was almost 100 years old, the new facade gave the effect that the home was recently built.
• The effects of the hurricane on the Florida coast were disastrous.
Here are a few excellent examples of effect being used as a verb to mean bring about, cause, create, generate or invoke (among others):
• Although he thought he could, the mayor could not effect the town's zoning laws as the city council blocked him.
• Due to falling attendance, professors will effect changes to the college's current schedule.
• In The Shawshank Redemption, the protagonist effected his escape via a hole in the prison walls covered by a poster of Raquel Welch.
• Although the botanist tried for years, she could not effect a change on the standard Granny Smith apple seed.
• The change in weather effected a positive change in Greg's mental attitude.
The Difference between Affects vs Effects
The difference between affects and effects is a bit easier to remember, especially since digital effects and special effects have become part of the lexicon. This meaning of effects refers to lights, sound, and digital magic that makes a movie or television show more enjoyable. On the other hand, the word affects means to make a difference or cause something to happen. Here is an example of both:
• The effects in the latest Dr. Strange movie were mind-blowing in their complexity.
• Too little snow in winter affects the reservoir and water supply in the spring and summer.
The Difference between Affected vs Effected
These last examples of effect vs affect are similar to those we've already seen but with some slight differences. Affected means that someone or something was changed or influenced by something or someone else. For example:
• The lyrics to the song "Highway to Heaven" have always affected him deeply.
Effected, as you've probably guessed, is a bit different and means something was facilitated, invoked, provoked, or brought about by an action. For example:
• Profound changes to the voting system in the United States are being effected by politicians across the country.
Affect or Effect: Which is Correct?
If you're ever confused between affect vs effect when writing content, it's best to think of the word affect as the change caused by another thing and effect as the result of that action. "The effect of the hurricane was devastating and affected the way homeowners prepared for hurricanes season the following year." It's easier to see the difference in this example, so feel free to use it whenever you feel affected by the effects of the differences between the words effect and affect!
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