Compare affect vs effect | Difference

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What is the difference between affect and effect?

Much of the confusion between affect and effect arises from the fact that the two words are homonyms, meaning they sound the very similar but mean different things. One of the best ways to differentiate one from the other entails understanding what they mean and how they are applied in English Language. This difference is best explained through the following phrase by Edgar Allen Poe which read as:

Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun.

Affect is a verb, meaning an action word, which is used to indicate a change or the fact that there is an influence of one factor over the other. When someone or something is influenced, the condition is described by the word affect rather than the cause of the change, for example, in the following newspaper headline:

Global Recession affects employment prospects of IT professionals

There are times when affect can be used as noun too and it often pertains to a situation when facial expressions come into play, for example:

The elderly gentleman afflicted with Alzheimer’s had a lost affect.

Affect can also act as a verb which means to pretend and can serve as a root for several of its derivatives like unaffected, disaffected, affection and affectation.

Effect is used as a noun wherein it refers to the outcome or impact of something, for example – What was the effect of heavy rainfall? Mostly preceded by articles a, an and the, sometimes this word can be used as a verb too. Some of its derivative words are aftereffect, effective and effectual.

Another method of making a mental note of the differences between the two entails going by the alphabetical order wherein affect comes first since it starts with ‘a’ and refers to action taking place. Effect starts with an ‘e’ and hence comes later, thus referring to the result or outcome which always follows an action.

Do you have anything to add to our affect vs effect meaning comparison? Let us know below.



One user has added to Compare affect vs effect | Difference

  1. Janet Keiser says:

    I can honestly say that I am one of the guilty parties that switches these two words around. It also did not help in school when every one kept on saying Affect is a Verb, Effect is a Noun. I then had to first sit and think what is a Verb or a Noun again? I recently learned from my daughter they remember it like this now Affect is a cause while Effect is a result. I personally think that people created so many different words to compensate these two words – just to spare themselves the humiliation when they switch it around…. Then again with so many people struggling with the words a few of us would actually know. 🙂

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