Monday, January 19, 2015

How to Choose Between Affect and Effect

How to Choose Between Affect and Effect Photo

How to Choose Between Affect and Effect

One of the most often asked grammar questions is when to use affect and when to use effect.

Affect is used as a verb and effect is used as a noun.  Since only nouns can be modified by the articles a, an and the, I can show you a simple trick to help you choose the correct word.

If you are not sure how to choose between“affect” or “effect,” see if one of the articles “a, an, or the” works in front of it.  If so, “effect” is probably the correct choice. If you try to place an article in front of a verb, it will not be correct. Since "effect" is a noun, the article will sound correct.

Your behavior had a negative effect on me.
Polio affected his legs.

It may help you to know that effect usually means "the result" and affect usually means "to influence."

Now you try it:
1.  She wore a tiara on her head and the (affect, effect) was ridiculous.
2.  Your behavior is having an (affect, effect) on everyone in the class.
3.  Watching a feel-good movie did not (affect, effect) his bad mood.

1.  effect   The article "the" appears before the noun "effect."
2.  effect   The article "an" appears before the noun "effect."
3.  affect   The articles "a, an, and the" would not make sense before the verb "affect."

Click here for a computer exercise to study common homonyms:

And for a more advanced class, click here for an interactive advanced vocabulary quiz.

Thanks for reading.