The English language can be extremely tricky, especially when it comes to dealing with and understanding homonyms (English words that have the same pronunciation but a different meaning and spelling). Although there are many notorious cases of mix-ups, none has eluded learners of the English language as much as the differences between the words affect and effect. They are essentially indistinguishable when pronounced, but many find it difficult to differentiate which word to use in their writing.
Affect is almost always used as a verb. When used as a verb, its meaning is "to influence" something. Therefore, you would always use "affect" when trying to say that someone or something had an influence. For example, "The damp and rainy day affected Harry's mood." Very rarely, affect can be used as a noun. Psychologists are usually the only people to use affect as a noun to describe someone's mood or emotional state.Affect
Provided in this section is a simplified grammatical explanation of the meaning of the two words. This chart illustrates the main differences between the proper usage of the words effect and affect by comparing differences and by using relevant examples to illustrate proper usage.Affect vs Effect
Effect is almost always used as a noun. When used as a noun, its meaning is "a result". Therefore, you would always use the word effect when trying to say that a change occurred as a result of something else. For example, "The rain had no effect on Harry's mood." Very rarely, effect can be used as a verb. In this instance, "to effect" means, "to bring about something, cause it to occur or to accomplish a task".Effect
In order to ensure a positive understanding of the subtle differences between the words effect and affect, a quick quiz is presented in this section. Once you have finished the quiz, please refer to the detailed answers (on the answer key page) for explanations. It's time to put what you've learned to test!Affect vs Effect Quiz