Affect vs Effect

Affect and effect sound very similar and are a troublesome pair. To make it even more difficult, both can be used as verbs (actions) or nouns (things).

More often than not:

  • Affect is used to signify a change or influence on something.

Example: The medicine affects my concentration, so please excuse me if I run into you.

  • Effect is used to describe the result of a change, so the end result of an action.

Example: The medicine had a huge effect on my concentration, which is why you are now in hospital.

So, something can affect you or it can have an effect on you.

Tips for remembering which is which

  • Affect alters something, both of which begin with an ā€˜aā€™.
  • Effect is the end result of something, both of which begin with an ā€˜eā€™.

And one more thing to confuse you

Just to make it a little more confusing, effect can also be used as a verb to mean ‘bring about’. More often than not, this meaning of effect is used in formal writing.

Example: The women protested in the hopes of effecting change in the government, but it appeared it was to no avail.