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.
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