Affect vs Effect makes the top 5 as the most commonly misused word interchanges next to “there, their and they’re” or “its and it’s”. These common misuses contribute to more lower grades on English papers in high schools and universities than anything else. Not paying attention or not fully comprehending to use of affect and effect will get you in trouble and lessen the effectiveness of your writing. Below are the best examples to be sure you understand how to use the correct terminology when you write.
Being Effective With the Use of Affect
Admittedly confusing, it is not impossible to get the full gist of how to use these two words in the correct way, every time. First, a definition. In order to better understand let’s get a handle on what the word means. Affect is a verb. It is what causes an effect in something. For instance, if are feeling amorous towards someone you have an affection for them, meaning there is something that has caused you to feel in a romantic way. For another example you would say, “the cold weather has negatively affected the crops.” The cold weather caused the negative reaction to the vegetation. The use of affect always has to do with causing something to be come a certain way, not the state of something.
Let’s take a look at another example of the correct use of the word, affect:
“What you are doing is affecting how others work around you. Please try and keep it down.”
In this instance, someone is obviously making enough noise for the speaker to point out that what the person is doing to make noise is causing others around them to become interrupted in their work. Clearly you can see how the use of the word is being used here as a verb and not a noun. A behavior is resulting in something else happening.
What is Affecting Your Use of Effect
An effect is the state of something. The word is a noun. It is not causing anything to be a certain way, it is condition of something. For instance you would say, “the neon signs in the window caused an illuminating effect on the curtains behind them.” What that means is the light of the neon made the curtains seem to give off of their own light by the reflection. The illumination was an effect of the light.
An additional example on the use of the noun, effect:
“What kind of effect are you expecting to have on the people you are interrupting in their work?”
In this case, the word effect is a noun. In this sentence the speaker is again addressing someone who is doing something to cause an interruption in the work of the people around them except that the speaker is asking them what they are planning on producing for a state of the workers. What is being asked is what the results of the action are not stating that the behavior is causing anything to happen.
The difference between affect and effect doesn’t have to be a puzzling mystery. Try writing some examples down for yourself using these two words and in the case of affect vs effect, before you write the correct word down, ask yourself the simple question of, “is this a noun or a verb use?” You can also further ask yourself, “is this going to indicate the current state of something or is it going to be a cause of something happening?” Practice makes perfect with most things and so it is with proper grammar and mastery is achievable.