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Affecting vs Effecting?

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9 replies to this topic

#Post 1 of 10 OFFLINE   Director



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Posted 17 August 2009 - 10:19 AM

Affecting vs Effecting?

The real problem arises when people confuse the first spelling with the second: “effect.” This too can be two different words. The more common one is a noun: “When I left the stove on, the effect was that the house filled with smoke.” When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it.

The less common is a verb meaning “to create”: “I’m trying to effect a change in the way we purchase widgets.” No wonder people are confused. Note especially that the proper expression is not “take affect” but “take effect”—become effective. Hey, nobody ever said English was logical: just memorize it and get on with your life.


Affect Vs. Effect

Affect and effect are two words that are commonly confused.

"Affect" is usually a verb meaning "to influence".

The drug did not affect the disease.

"Effect" is usually a noun meaning "result".

The drug has many adverse side effects.

"Effect" can also be used as a verb meaning "to bring about".

The present government effected many negative changes.



Knowing when to use affect or effect in a sentence can be a challenge. These words are examples of homonyms. Homonyms are words that similar, but have very different meanings. Other examples of homonyms are two/to/too, accept/except, and there/their/they're.


In order to understand the correct situation in which to use the word affect or effect, the first thing one must do is have a clear understanding of what each word means. According to yourDictionary.com, the word
Affect means:

1. To have an influence on or effect a change in: Inflation affects the buying power of the dollar.
2. To act on the emotions of; touch or move.
3. To attack or infect, as a disease: Rheumatic fever can affect the heart.


The word effect has a different meaning. Here is the meaning according to yourDictionary.com:

1. Something brought about by a cause or agent; a result.
2. The power to produce an outcome or achieve a result; influence: The drug had an immediate effect on the pain. The government's action had no effect on the trade imbalance.
3. A scientific law, hypothesis, or phenomenon: the photovoltaic effect.
4. Advantage; avail: used her words to great effect in influencing the jury.
5. The condition of being in full force or execution: a new regulation that goes into effect tomorrow.
1. Something that produces a specific impression or supports a general design or intention: The lighting effects emphasized the harsh atmosphere of the drama.
2. A particular impression: large windows that gave an effect of spaciousness.
3. Production of a desired impression: spent lavishly on dinner just for effect.
7. The basic or general meaning; import: He said he was greatly worried, or words to that effect.

Grammar Rules for Affect and Effect

Now that we have the two definitions, how do we know which word to use? Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

1. If you are talking about a result, then use the word "effect."

* Example: What effect did the loss have on the team?

2. It is appropriate to use the word "effect" if one of these words is used immediately before the word: into, no, take, the, any, an, or and.

* Example: The prescribed medication had no effect on the patient's symptoms.
* Example: In analyzing a situation, it is important to take the concepts of cause and effect into consideration.

3. If you want to describe something that was caused or brought about, the right word to use is effect.

* Example: The new manager effected some positive changes in the office. (This means that the new manager caused some positive changes to take place in the office.)

4. Affect can be used as a noun to describe facial expression.

* Example: The young man with schizophrenia had a flat affect.
* Example: The woman took the news of her husband's sudden death with little affect.

5. Affect can also be used as a verb. Use it when trying to describe influencing someone or something rather than causing it.

* Example: How does the crime rate affect hiring levels by local police forces?
* Example: The weather conditions will affect the number of people who come to the county fair this year.


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#Post 2 of 10 OFFLINE   StereoXGirl



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Posted 17 August 2009 - 10:24 AM

Thanks, T! I always pause to think when determining whether to use effect or affect. lol.

What can I say? I'm a math person...lol.

#Post 3 of 10 OFFLINE   Adrienne



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Posted 17 August 2009 - 10:39 AM

I didn't know they were homonyms. I always say Uh-fect for affect and eh-fect for effect. I pay too much attention to grammer and pronounciation lol.

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#Post 4 of 10 OFFLINE   lolaB



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Posted 17 August 2009 - 10:56 AM

Thankfully I had more than a few grammar nazis for teachers in primary school. They pounded this difference and several others into me lol!

#Post 5 of 10 OFFLINE   Duchess Ravenwaves

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 11:38 AM

That's good to know. Thanks for the little lesson!

#Post 6 of 10 OFFLINE   Karren



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Posted 18 August 2009 - 08:20 AM

God that's confusing!! I'm all for calling webster and having one of those deleted from the language!! Be a lot easier for us dumb engineers to communicate better.. More better! Lol.
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#Post 7 of 10 OFFLINE   Hannah_



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Posted 18 August 2009 - 09:05 AM

Originally Posted by Karren View Post
God that's confusing!! I'm all for calling webster and having one of those deleted from the language!! Be a lot easier for us dumb engineers to communicate better.. More better! Lol.
But it's nice (;

#Post 8 of 10 OFFLINE   MakeupByMe



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Posted 18 August 2009 - 07:59 PM

This is so funny I Swear The other day I was writting a letter & I Wrote Effect & Than paused & Erased the e & put an A for Affect & than I erased the A & Put the E again lol ......................Im thinkin now maybe i should have left the "A" lol

#Post 9 of 10 OFFLINE   Sangiovese



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Posted 18 August 2009 - 09:25 PM

Originally Posted by Adrienne View Post
I didn't know they were homonyms. I always say Uh-fect for affect and eh-fect for effect. I pay too much attention to grammer and pronounciation lol.
Me too...although I say eefect instead
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#Post 10 of 10 OFFLINE   ~Angela~



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Posted 19 August 2009 - 10:25 AM

Holy cow! I've wondered about this since the 10th grade! Ha ha ha thanks!
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