Affect vs Effect

Grammar Tutorial

Affect vs Effect


Have you ever been stumped when writing because you’re not sure whether you should use ‘affect’ or ‘effect’ in the particular situation? It’s a really bothersome and confusing grammar problem that many people struggle with. Let’s change that!

Sample Problem

Use the following information to answer the question below.

Alice loves to hang out with Johnny, but when he’s mean, it ______ her in a way that makes her hesitant to be his friend.

Try filling in the blank in this statement to test your knowledge on the subject:




Let’s start things off by getting nerdy, shall we? Here’s the difference between the homophones:
The word ‘affect’ is a verb. This means it is an action. You affect people.
The word ‘effect’ is a noun. This means it is a thing. You have an effect on people.

Get it yet? No? Okay, let’s try things in another way. Do you remember in third grade when your teacher was telling you about Cause and Effect? Yeah? We remember that the Effect is the aftermath of the Cause. So, the effect is what happens. The affect is what it does. Here’s an example:

Cause: The wind was blowing hard.
Effect: Mark dropped his ice cream cone.
Affect: Mark was sad.

So above, we’re focusing on Mark. Mark is the subject of the sentence. The wind caused something to happen physically to Mark, which caused him to have an emotional reaction. The wind caused something to happen to Mark (the effect) and that resulted in a change in Mark (the affect). Think about it this way: the cause results in the effect which results in the affect. You cannot be affected if you haven’t been effected.

So here’s the skinny. The effect is the thing that happens. The affect is the way it changes something.

Hope it’s all cleared up now!

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I am a freshman at Hickman High School with a 3.75 GPA enrolled in all honors and an AP class. I am involved in many academic clubs such as Quizbowl and MFPS and I absolutely love to learn. I tutored in-school as an eighth grader in 7th grade English classes and enjoyed watching my students grow ...
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