Affect or effect?

These two words are often confused. They both have several meanings, but today we will look at their basic meaning of change.

Affect is a verb, basically meaning: cause to change; make a difference to

  • The cold weather affected my health.
  • If you don’t study it will affect your exam results badly.
  • How you dress affects the way people think of you.

Effect is a noun, meaning: a change that is the result of something else

  • The cold weather had an effect on my health.
  • Hard drugs can have deadly effects.
  • Her love letters had no effect on him.

As mentioned above, both words can have other meanings as well, and effect can also be a verb (with a different meaning). Just remember that in the sense of “change” as shown above the noun is effect and the verb is affect.


By Josef Essberger for EnglishClub December 2007
Josef started teaching English as a foreign language in 1991 and founded EnglishClub for learners and teachers in 1997.

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