English Language; Drama & Speech; Social Etiquette. Est. 1986, Hong Kong

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09 October 2015

Affect or Effect?

Affect and effect are two words that are easily mixed up – even native speakers of English get them confused!

Affect is mainly used as a verb meaning “to influence or make a difference to”.

For example, “The weather severely affected their barbeque,” meaning that the weather was so bad that fewer guests came or perhaps the food was ruined.
 

Effect is most commonly used as a noun meaning “a result or influence”.

For example, “Not doing well in the assessment had such a big effect on her final grade that her choice of universities was limited.”

We also use the noun effects to mean “possessions” as in:
“During the fire many of her possessions were burnt, leaving her few effects to pass on to her children.  It was for this reason they had little to remember their mother by, which was very sad.”

Effect can also be a verb meaning “to bring something about as a result”, in more formal situations.

For example, “The court effected many new reforms to give judges a broader scope for sentencing minors.”

It’s not easy to use these words, but hopefully, you’ll find putting them into sentences much simpler now!

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