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As many of you can see, I've been a pretty terrible blogger lately! What can I say...Life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Affect vs. Effect

I also haven't done one of these in a very long time! I guess I'm just being nostalgic in going back to some of the old blog features! Regardless of what this is, this grammar smack down has been bugging me lately, plus I've had to look it up about five times for work so it really is time to get it down and get it right!

The simplest way to figure out which one to use is to decide whether or not you need a noun or a verb.

Affect = verb

Effect = noun

Nevertheless, that's not really easy to remember.

A better way to think of it is using the nifty little phrase: Cause and Effect!

Affect causes something, like happiness, pain, ect.
"The affect of the clown was laughter (or screams)!"
"The affect of the bullet in his side was pain."

Effect is what happens after a cause, like the happiness, pain, ect.
"The laughter (or screams) was an effect of the clown!"
"The pain was the effect of the bullet."

See how they're like the backwards versions of each other?

However, there are always those fun excepts, and for that, I turn to another blog because they explain it a million times better than I could at the moment.

(The following is from Grammar Girl.)

Rare Uses of Affect and Effect
So what about those rare meanings that don't follow the rules I just gave you? Well, affect can be used as a noun when you're talking about psychology--it means the mood that someone appears to have. For example, "She displayed a happy affect." Psychologists find it useful because they know that you can never really understand what someone else is feeling. You can only know how they appear to be feeling.
And, effect can be used as a verb that essentially means "to bring about," or "to accomplish." For example, you could say, "Aardvark hoped to effect change within the burrow."
That's all for now!


  1. Thanks for posting those. I usually have to look those up too.

  2. Ah, this is one that I've recently come to distinguish. I may have recounted this before, but my previous employer asked me to edit a notice that she had typed and I had to explain to her the difference between "lets" and "let's." Managers are usually terible with spelling. :(

    1. I just realized that I misspelled "terrible." Embarassiiiiing~

  3. AA: The effect this post has had upon your readers will affect the future of many.

  4. I just made a video on this topic...



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