What is the difference between the words affect and effect?
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".