Affect or Effect?

Before you affect a change, consider the effect of previous changes.

don't panic button


Most of the time, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. (But not always. That would be too easy!)

The verb to affect means to influence something (or, to have an effect on it). Verbs are often Actions which, like affect, begins with an ‘A’.

The noun effect is generally the result of something (as in ‘End result’, or am I pushing this initial letter idea too far?)

Example: ‘Beans affect my digestion. The effect of beans on my digestion is unfortunate.’

A good example from the Reedsy blog is A&E: When you’re Affected by an Accident, the Effect is an Emergency.

(Although A&E will probably mean more to UK readers than those across the water.)

Microsoft‘s advice is to remember that affects cause effects, and that A comes before E.

Microsoft also includes another meaning for affect, which can be used in the sense of to pretend:

‘I affected a limp when leaving my car in a disabled parking space’.


Effect is sometimes used as a verb. It means to cause, or to accomplish, mostly in the sense of effecting a result or change – as in, ‘The gathering clouds effected a change in the temperature.’

When affect is used as a noun, it usually refers to a psychological state, such as, ‘The patient had a flat affect throughout the therapy session’. (From Grammarly’s article). Or, ‘His facial affect reflected his inner torment.’ (From Reedsy‘s blog.)

If you need more examples, there are numerous articles out there online to help with this, as well as other similar words and near homphones. (Although these two don’t actually sound the same, unless you’re talking quickly.)



Do you have any tips or mnemonics to help with this one?

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