For those who are learning the English language, certain words can be confusing. Even native English speakers can sometimes get confounded between similar words. A classic example is the difference between the words “Affect” and “Effect”.
The fundamental difference between these two words is that Affect is usually used as a verb, while Effect is used as a noun in a sentence TBH.
English is a truly mind-boggling language. Especially, if it is your second language or if it’s not your native tongue. But only a few words are as confusing as affect vs effect.
DEFINITION: Simply put, these words mean:
Affect- something that makes an impact.
Effect: something that brings about change.
Do you see the subtle difference?
Affect is an event. It could be a health scare, a blizzard, rain, traffic, that has an impact on your day-to-day life.
On the other hand, effect means something that happens as a result. Could be a change in policy, changes that happen because of your direct actions, or the result of using a product.
Now, let’s look at some examples to differentiate between the two.
“The forest fires of Uttarakhand affected hundreds of local wildlife.”
Now, for something more upbeat. Consider, “your presence in my life has affected me positively”.
“Parenting style has proven to affect adults later in life”
“Does watching TV close at range affect your eyesight?”
Compare this with the examples for effect.
“Demonetization has had a direct effect on India’s economy”
“A healthy breakfast has a positive effect on your health throughout the day”
“The psychological effects of addiction are as harmful as physical ones”
“The new law will go into effect from tomorrow”
Ready for a quick fill-in-the-blanks to see how much you took from the above?
“UV Rays are known to negatively ________ naked eyes.” (Affect or effect)
“This medication is known to have no side ______” (Affects or effects)
“Aloe Vera can have a soothing ______ on sunburns” (Affect or effect)
“The _______ of climate change doesn’t follow the law of borders” (affects or effects)
“Covid-19 has ________ millions of lives across the globe” (affected or effected)
Meaning of “Affect” and “Effect”
As a verb, Affect means “to act on and produce a change in someone or something”. To understand the meaning of Affect better, here is a sentence: “David’s cough was badly affected by the smoke of the bonfire.”
Effect in noun form means “a change caused by doing something or through other occurrences”. If you were to use this word in a sentence, it would go something like this: “The encouragement from her mother had a huge effect on Sarah’s performance in school.”
In a nutshell, Affect causes an Effect. Like with most things in life, there are some exceptions. But usually Affect is a verb and Effect is a noun when used in a sentence.
“Affect” as Verb and “Effect” as a noun
Here are some examples of Affect in a sentence as a verb:
“Justin was deeply affected by the first Broadway musical he saw as a child.”
“Eating more vegetables and fruits will positively affect your health.”
“Wise people do not let their emotions affect their decisions.”
To use Effect properly in a sentence as a noun, here are some examples:
“We do not fully understand the effects of mobile phones on our brains yet.”
“The effects of this medicine will wear out in some hours.”
“He drinks so much coffee that a single cup has no effect on him.”
Sometimes, Affect can also be used as a noun. Its meaning changes to “an observable emotional response”. This term is used in psychology and not everyday language.
Example: “The sad news did not change the patient’s affect.”
Similarly, as a verb, Effect means “accomplish” or “to facilitate something into being”.
Example: “Hard work effected Sally’s progress in college.”