Affect or Effect?

20 July 2022

The words affect and effect are two of the most commonly confused words in the English language. They’re pronounced pretty much the same, used in the same contexts, and both can be used as both a verb and a noun. So how can you remember the difference?

What is the difference between Affect and Effect

So, is it affect or effect? In a nutshell, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. At least, most of the time. In the majority of cases, you’ll encounter the words as these parts of speech.

So, if A affects B, B experiences the effect of A’s action.

Confused? Let’s have a look…


Affect means to influence or to produce a change in something. For example,

The merger affected our profits.

The medicine will affect your eyesight for at least an hour.

Winning the swimming medal affected Tina’s performance in school, too.


Effect is a noun, and it means the result of a change. So, if an event affects your life, you will feel the event’s effect.

What is the effect of too much coffee?

You’ll feel the effect of the medication in the next twenty minutes.

Tina’s big win had an effect on her confidence level overall.

How to Remember the Difference

In sum, 

Use affect as the verb in a sentence when you’re talking about producing change or making a difference. 

Effect is a noun, and it is the outcome of an event or situation that created a change. The effect of the change can be big or small, but the fact that something changed is what makes the noun form of effect so important. 

Here’s a trick to remember which is which: keep your eyes on the first letter of each word. 

 Affect starts with A for Action – meaning it’s a verb


with Effect, you can jump straight from Cause to Effect over that convenient E.

Still confused? Here’s another way to remember. Go on a DATE!

Doing word or verb
Thing word or noun

What about you? Do you have a pair of confusing words that you want to clarify? Why don’t you share them with me and the English Connection community in the comments section below! 

These bitesize mini-lessons are given to you complimentary when you sign up and join the English Connection community. 


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