The Difference Between

What is the difference between the words affect and effect?

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2011-08-02 03:21:10

AFFECT is normally a verb, and means "to influence or


EFFECT is normally a noun, and means the result,

consequence, or change that is made.


How does population growth affect us? VERB

Studying should positively affect your grades. VERB

What is the effect of population growth? NOUN

Drinking alcohol can have a bad effect on your health. NOUN

If the word is a noun, use "effect." The word affect will

almost always be used as an action verb. The word effect can also

be a verb, very rarely but obviously used, meaning to cause. (e.g.

This law may effect a basic change to our policy.)

The sound of the words provides a good way to remember the

most common usage:

If the word follows "the," then emphasize the long "e" sound in

the words "the" and "effect," and say "the effect

of....". The effect of drinking too much alcohol is often a

hangover". Otherwise, use "affect," as in "alcohol affects health."

In this case, the "a" in "affects" is pronounced like "uh".

There are some exceptions, for example in psychology a

person's "affect," referring to his/her emotional presentation, is

a noun. "He has a flat affect." In that case, the "a" is pronounced

like the vowel sound in "laugh".

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