Difference Between Affect and Effect (The Nouns and The Verbs)

From a grammatical point of view, the Difference Between Affect and Effect is that “affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. This is a well-known and common difference between the two.

Often the word “affect” and does mean impact or change. Effect is a noun an effect is related to a change. There are certain situations and fixed phrases that violate the general usage laws of these words. It may be something that affects either. 

Use Affect or Effect in your writing but be careful not to confuse with other writing! This article helps sort this out.

Affect Versus Effect

First, “affect” vs. “effect” is tricky since the spelling and pronunciation are so similar. But in addition, each of the words in the commonly confused word pair “affect” and “effect” is both a noun and a transitive word. 

Affect is the verb form of the noun affect. Your affect is your manner or style. Affect is a term that describes a change of mood or emotion. Effect is the verb form of the noun effect.

The Basics of Affect and Effect

The first thing you need to know is that there are two different words spelled affect. The first word affect is pronounced /AHF ekt/ as a noun and /uh FEKT/ as a verb. The first word affect came into Middle English from Latin affectus, a form of afficere, meaning “acted on.”

The second word affect is a verb only and is pronounced /uh FEKT/. It came into Middle English through Middle French affecter from the Latin word affectare, which is a form of the Latin afficere and meant “to strive after.”

Effect is pronounced /ih FEKT/ both as a noun and as a verb. The word effect came into Middle English in the late fourteenth century from the Latin word effectus, meaning “the doing of a task” and the results of that doing, i.e., the achievement.

Tell me the Difference Between Affect and Effect?

What is the Difference Between Affect and Effect?

We often come across two or three words in English which are exactly alike or only slightly different in their pronunciation. But they are vastly different form each other in their meanings. 

Such similar-sounding words are known homonyms and often cause confusion to the learner of the language. 

Given below Affect and Effect are pair of word which have been used in sentences to make their meaning clear.

Affect and Effect are two English language words which having almost similar pronunciations and very similar meanings generate great confusion even the sound of the words is similar.

Both words are commonly confused that where we should use the word Affect and where we should use the word Effect even before making this clarification, I also had made mistake using these words and I had never seen either of the words used correctly

From the grammatical point of view the difference between affect and effect is Affect is a verb and Effect is a noun. This is the well-known and common difference between these two words.

Affect:  A Verb (A + ffect) (alter the feelings, change the mental state of someone or something, change, to influence, to pretend or to imitate)

Usage: “Affect” is most commonly used in its verb form.


Smoking affects health.

Government policies affect citizens.

Effect:  A Noun (E + ffect) (Result of something, consequence or change that is made)

Usage: “Effect” is most commonly used in its noun form.


The present government effected many positive changes.

The best way to effect changes in society is to work at the grassroots level.

The Nouns Affect and Effect

In this case, we’re dealing with two words, since only one of the words spelled affect can be a noun. The noun affect can mean two things in modern parlance, both related to the study of the mind in psychology and psychiatry:

  • a feeling or an emotion
  • the exhibition of an emotional response

The noun effect can mean nine things: –

  • the result of an action or cause
  • the force that produces results
  • the state of being effective in bringing about results
  • the mental or emotional impression that something produces
  • the intention or meaning of something
  • a planned impression (sometimes opposed to real value)
  • an appearance of one type, produced by other means
  • a scientific phenomenon, usually named for the person who discovered it
  • the special production elements of sound, lighting, etc. (i.e., special effects)

There are two issues here. First, effect by itself has so many meanings that they can be difficult to remember and distinguish. 

Second, the fourth meaning of effect—the mental or emotional impression that something produces—is very closely related to the meanings of affect.

The Verbs Affect and Effect

Here we’re dealing with three words. The first verb affect has three meanings:

  • to act on in a way that produces a change
  • to cause a mental or emotional impression
  • to infect (as a disease)

The second verb affect has four meanings:

  • to pretend or simulate something
  • to have, wear, or display
  • to tend toward naturally
  • to copy something

The verb effect has one meaning:

  • to accomplish or produce an effect

There are three issues here. First having two words that look identical is confusing to begin with. 

Second the meanings of the first verb affect have to do with causing an effect, as does the verb effect, so it’s easy to confuse them. 

And third, when there are so many meanings for all three in addition to different parts of speech for two, it may be very difficult to remember which definitions go with which word.

The best plan in this case is to either focus only on the few meanings that you actually use and memorize them or—if you know that these are words that you often confuse—to use a dictionary when you need to use one.

Affected vs. Effected

“Affected” and “effected” are forms of “affect” and “effect.” And just as people confuse “affect” with “effect” and vice versa, so “affected” vs. “effected” is a problem for people as well. This article helps sort out the difference.

The Basics of Affected and Effected

Why do people confuse affected with effected? Consider these points:

  • Affected and effected both look and sound similar to each other and have related meanings.
  • In addition, there are two different words affect with a form affected.
  • Also, affected, affected, and effected can each be a past tense verb or a past participle, which can be used as a modifier. In addition, affected can be a noun when used with the definite article.

With all of these different factors, confusion is not surprising. So let’s start by clarifying their pronunciation and etymology.

The first word affected is pronounced /uh FEKT ihd/. Its source, the first word affect, entered Middle English from Latin affectus, a form of afficere, which means “acted on.”

The second word affected is also pronounced /uh FEKT id/. It entered Middle English through Middle French affecter, which comes from the Latin word affectare, a form of the Latin word afficere meaning “to strive after.”

Effected is pronounced /ih FEKT id/. It’s source, the word effect, entered Middle English from the Latin word effectus, which means “the doing of a task.”

Past Tense Affected and Effected

The past tenses of affect and effect have a total of 8 meanings.

The first verb affected has three:

  • acted on in a way that produces a change
  • caused a mental or emotional impression
  • infected (as a disease)

The second verb affected has four:

  • pretended or simulated something
  • had, wore, or displayed
  • tended toward naturally
  • copied something

The verb effected has one:

  • accomplished or produced an effect

Modifying Affected and Effected

Though it’s technically possible for effected to be used as a modifier, it virtually never is used correctly. 

In other words, if you want to use a word as a modifier and you’re trying to decide on affected vs. effected, almost inevitably, affected is the word you want. It is used in two main ways:

  • •to call out something false or pretentions:

I can’t stand his affected laugh.

  • •to point out something that is the result of a cause:

The surgeon removed the affected tissue (the tissue on which the effect acted).

Noun Affected

Those who have endured an effect can be referred to as the affected.

The Affected, a translation of the Spanish Los Afectados, is the title of a film series about the effects of agribusiness.

The takeaway is that most of the time, the form affected is correct. The main exception is the verb effected when speaking of creating an effect, as in the sentence:

They effected an enormous amount of change in a very short period of time.

Affecting or Effecting

“Affecting” and “effecting” are not as tricky to sort out as “affected” and “effected” or “affect” and “effect,” but people still aren’t sure when to use each. If you’re having trouble with “affecting” vs. “effecting,” read this article for an explanation.

The Basics of Affecting and Effecting

The confusion of affecting and effecting begins with the fact that affect is the spelling of two different words, both of which have affecting as the present participle, which can be used as a verb or a modifier. 

Effecting is the present participle of one word, effect, and since effective is more commonly used as a modifier, we can stick with the use as a main verb.

The two words affect are related. They both originally came into Middle English and developed from the Latin word (or a form of the Latin word) afficere, though the first affect came from the Latin form affectus and the second affect came through Middle French prior to entering Middle English. 

In addition, both have the same pronunciation, leading to affecting being pronounced /uh FEKT ihng/.

Effect also came into English in the Middle English period, and though it is so close to affect in pronunciation and meaning, it comes from a different Latin word, effectus, which means “the doing of a task” or “an achievement.” The –ing form is pronounced /ih FEKT ihng/.

The Meanings of the Present Participles Affecting and Effecting

First, let’s consider the present participle forms used as a main verb.

Affecting formed from the first verb affect can mean:

  • acting on in a way that produces a change
  • causing a mental or emotional impression
  • infecting (as a disease)

Affecting formed from the second verb affect can mean:

  • pretending or simulating something
  • having, wearing, or displaying
  • tending toward naturally
  • copying something

The verb effect has one meaning:

  • accomplishing or producing an effect

So, nearly every time you use the –ing form of one of these words as the main verb, unless the meaning is “accomplishing or producing an effect,” the choice to make is affecting.

An example of when to use effecting is this sentence:

The manager’s new plan was effecting a remarkable change in morale.

Now let’s consider the present participle forms of affect and effect as modifiers. When thinking about affecting vs. effecting as a modifier, it turns out that effecting is rarely, if ever, properly used in this way. Probably the most common use is affecting meaning “moving” as in:

In an affecting display of loyalty, the exhausted dog continued to stand guard over her wounded owner until help arrived.

If you’re considering using effecting, it is likely that effective would be a better choice.

When to Use Affect or Effect?

For many, especially foreign citizens who come to America and are baffled as to how many different meanings there are to the English language, knowing the Difference Between Affect and Effect can be very difficult. For native speakers it’s important to understand the difference in conversations and especially on paper.

The word affect means that there is an influence or a contribution that is taking place. 

For instance, what you do will affect all of us and one decision is going to affect a certain outcome. If you touch or move something or if you act on emotions then it is “affect. 

“Another example of the word Affect is when there is a feeling or an emotion taking place. This is the root of the word, “affection.”

Let’s move onto effect and look at the meaning. There are side effects that are attached to medications and this is a word that is a bit more literal. The “rules” are going to go into effect. 

A cause is prior to the effect. The word effect is going to give a certain impression or a sense, such as a mirror which is going to give the effect to guests that the room is bigger.

All in all, the difference between affect and effect comes down to concrete and something that isn’t concrete. 

Something that is attached to an object and one that is more-so attached to an emotion or though. Effects can often define a belonging or a graphic. 

If you have ever heard the term graphic effect, that is a computer design. It gives the effect of a certain feeling or theme on a paper, computer, book movie etc.

Yes, there is a lot of confusion between affect and effect but think of it this way:

How were you affected by a situation? What was the effect on the room? Think of it this way. Refer to a noun, when you want to use the word and you are using it in a noun form then it is going to be effect. 

When it is a verb, emotion, feeling, reaction then it is going to be affect. There is a difference between the two that is quite distinct if you understand the difference between a verb and a noun. 

Hopefully this helps, and if you have difficult remember the different between a thing and a feeling or something that isn’t concrete.

How do you Remember the Difference Between Affect and Effect?

An affect is a change in emotions or mood caused by an outside influence; an effect is a result or consequence of something.”, “background info”: “Affect, when used as a verb, means to influence someone or something; when used as a noun, it refers to a result of an action. 

Effect, when used as a verb, refers to the result of an action; when used as a noun, it refers to a change in emotions or mood caused by an outside influence.

An effect is something caused by a past action, while an affect is a feeling or influence. For example, when you pay off your mortgage, the impact on your finances is the effect; the feeling of satisfaction is the affect.

The words “affect” and “effect” are confusing for many people. They sound similar, and they are used in similar contexts. Because of this, it is easy to misuse these words. However, they do have very different meanings.

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