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What is the difference between the words affect and effect?

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βˆ™ 2011-08-02 03:21:10

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

EFFECT is normally a noun, and means the result, consequence, or change that is made.

Examples:

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".

2011-08-02 03:21:10
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