Effect or Affect?


Easy Advice for Common Use The words "affect" and "effect" are often confused even by English native speakers. Spelling and pronunciation are nearly identical, and even their meaning is closely related. Still, the following hints are sure to help you avoid the most common mistakes and use the right word in the right place.
Both "affect" and "effect" can be either a noun or a verb, which leads us to the first point:

As a noun: Mostly with "e"

Unless you write a dissertation in psychoanalysis, it is unlikely that you want to use "affect" as a noun. So first of all remember that when you use "effect" as a noun, spell it with an "e" because you probably do not mean "the conscious aspect of an emotion" (definition of the noun "affect") but the positive learning effect a certain grammar article has on your English skills, the unfortunate effect Christmas cake has on your weight, or the beautiful visual effect red cranberries add to white icing.

As a verb: "To affect" (more common)

...But to put the icing on the cake, let's talk about the difference between the verbs "affect" and "effect". As a verb, "affect" is more commonly used than "effect".
The confusing part is that when you want to say that something has an effect on something else, "affect" is the right verb:
    - This article affects your English skills positively
    - What you mean affects your choice of spelling

But don't let this counterintuitive feature of the English language affect your enthusiasm! Try memorizing the following sentence:

    - At first I hated the movie, but then its amazing special effects affected my opinion about it positively.

A good method to identify the right spot for the verb "affect" is replacing it with "influence":
Your study time affects your grades -> Your study time influences your grades.

As a verb: "To effect" (less common)

The verb "effect" is less common. Its meaning is stronger than "affect". It does not only influence something but brings a definite result and is often used in legal or political contexts.

Identify the right spot for the verb "effect" by replacing it with "bring about".
    After long talks the diplomat effected a cease-fire -> The diplomat brought about a cease-fire.

Time to let this article sink in and affect your learning curve. Enjoy its positive effect on your English skills!