How to use Affect and Effect – English vocabulary (W/Video)

Affect VS. Effect

The English words Affect and Effect are easy to confuse. Their spelling is similar and their meanings both relate to change. It’s easy for me to see as a teacher why these words often get used incorrectly. They are different kinds of words, one is a verb and the other is a noun. They are used with different kinds of grammar. Please look at the table below.

Affect is a verb – to produce a change in somebody/something
“My relationship with her did not affect my decision.”
Effect is a noun – a change that somebody/something causes in somebody/something else; a result
“You can’t have a cause without an effect.”

Definitions from

More examples with AFFECT

  • How will the new rules affect you?
  • Countries like Australia will be the worst affected by global warming.

More examples with EFFECT

The president’s new policy will have long-term effects.
My friend really believes in the positive effects of a low carb diet.

Effect is a countable noun so we can use it in the plural form – effects

Using AFFECT and EFFECT – guide

In a basic English sentence, we write subject verb object. Please look at the following example sentence-

“Global warming affects the whole world.”

In this sentence global warming is the subject, affects is the verb and the whole world is the object.

Global warming effects the whole world.

Effect is a noun so this is incorrect. It doesn’t fit the grammar of this sentence.

“We will all feel the effects of global warming.”

In this sentence we is the subject, feel is a verb and the effects of global warming is the object.)

We will all feel the affects of global warming.

Affect is a verb so this is incorrect. It also doesn’t fit the grammar of this sentence.

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Some more tips for using affect and effect.

Remember that the nouneffect” often will follow an article (“an effect,” “the effect”) or an adjective (“negative effect,” “positive effect”).  [Verbs do not follow articles or adjectives. ]

“Rising oil prices will have an effect on nearly everyone.”

“Getting enough sleep has a positive effect on your health.”

Affect is a verb so it can be used in the
past (affected),
future (will affect), or
continuous (BE affecting) tense.

Effect is most commonly used as a noun.
Nouns do not use these forms.

*Effect does have a verb form, but it is not so common. This post focused only on the noun form.

“This new software is affecting the performance of my laptop.”

“A few people lost their jobs in the bad economy, but luckily my company was not affected.”

Use the video below to improve your listening skills. Watch to review the grammar and listen to natural English spoken by a native speaker. Before you watch click this link and join my FREE English newsletter for awesome English PDFs right in your inbox.

I made an infographic explaining the difference between affect and effect many years ago. I tweeted this on my Twitter account and it inspired this blog post. In a longer post I can give you some more examples.

English vocabulary - Affect VS. Effect
Affect Vs. Effect

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