Affect – Effect

Dear All,
Two words which may be easily confused by English learners and even by the speakers for whom English is their native language are “affect” and “effect”. This blogs compares these two words to help use them correctly.

First of all, let us define each of these words to make the differences more obvious:

Affect: v. 1) to influence:
e.g. This decision is going to influence my life.

2) to make it appear like:
e.g. When she gave me the present I expected, I affected surprise to make her happy.

n. 1) a feeling or emotion (esp. in the context of psychology and nonverbal communication):
e.g. The way we use gestures is different when we are in the state of affect.

Effect: v. 1) to bring about (esp. a change):
e.g. When you work hard with faith, you can effect change.

n. 1) the result of a particular influence:
e.g. He brought tickets to the movie for her; the effect was very positive: she stopped crying, smiled, and kissed him gently.

The potential point of confusion is when both of these words are verbs (meaning 1) above). However, if to look closely, it is possible to see the difference: “to affect” means ‘to influence somebody or something’, in other words to make it change in a certain way; whereas “to effect” means to ‘bring about’, in other words, to trigger, to cause, to make it happen.

To sum up, this post has addressed the question of differences in meaning between the words “affect” and “effect”. These words have been defined and the differences between them have been clarified.

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