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Tip 46: Affect versus Effect

How do I know when to use ‘affect’ versus when to use ‘effect’?

Affect is a verb. It means to influence. Think of ‘affect’ as an ‘action.’ Both ‘affect’ and ‘action’ begin with the letter ‘a.’

Examples:
Your response to this question will affect my opinion of you.
His screaming didn’t affect her at all.
The drop in gasoline prices affected their business.

Effect is most often used as a noun. It is the result of an influence.
Examples:
Your response to the question had a positive effect on me.
The effect of his screaming was simply that she left the room.
The effect of the rising gasoline prices was that we canceled our road trip.

Effect can also be used as a verb to mean ‘make’ or ‘produce.’
Examples:
The rising gasoline prices will probably effect changes to our plan for a European road trip.

Note: Avoid the use of effect as a verb when you can replace it with a less formal word.

Examples:
The rising gasoline prices will probably affect our plans for a European road trip.