Affect vs Effect: How to Use Them Both in a Sentence

The English language is a peculiar one. While a lot of other languages have a logical set of rules that makes learning a language straightforward, there are a ton of curveballs when it comes to the English language.

Not only are there a ton of different exceptions when it comes to tenses, but there are equally so many words that are similar in how they are spelled and how they sound – despite having very different meanings.

One of the most confusing in all the English language is affect vs effect. In fact, it is probably one of the easiest two words to mix up.

At the core of it, the word “affect” is most commonly used as a verb and is to indicate that there is a change taking place. The word “effect” is most commonly used as a noun and explains the actual result of the change.

But of course, there are also various rules that can be broken with both of these words too. So how the heck do you know when to use what? When do you say “effectively” versus “affectively”?

We’ve rounded up all the things to know about both of these words, along with plenty of examples of when to use them and how to use them in a sentence.

The Real Difference Between Affect and Effect

So if you are in the middle of writing an email, essay or something else where you are trying to decide if it is “effect” or “affect”, just remember that the first is a noun and the second is a verb. At least for the majority of the scenarious.

When in doubt, remember that most times when X affects Y, then Y will then experience the effect of those actions.

Are you keeping up? Okay, let us clarify a bit more.

For example, imagine X is a boy named Charles. And Y is a girl named Lucy. Charles pushes Lucy into the pool. Charles affects where Lucy is now located. Lucy now being soaked from the water is the effect of Charles pushing her in. Make sense?

It is okay if you are still trying to figure it out. It doesn’t make it easy that both words are only separated by one letter and literally sound the same. So we’re going to deep dive into both words a bit more.

All About Affect

The definition of the word “affect” is to influence something or create a change in something. Some examples used properly in a sentence would be:

“The storm affected the locals who lived along the coastline.”

“The prescription medicine could affect your vision.”

“The victory affected her performances for the rest of the year.”

If you want an easy way to remember when to use “affect”, just think that the “a” in “affect” stands for action. Of course, verbs are all actions. Thus, the word “affect” is used almost always as a verb. It really is that simple!

Sometimes though the word “affect” can also be used as a noun when you are trtying to imply a feeling or emotion. For example, you could say:

“The girl had a flat affect through the counselling session.”

The patient’s mood was pretty average, nothing drastic and no real change has resulted from the session. In this instance, since no change was created, the word “effect” simply would not work.

All About Effect

Now comes “effect”. This word, as we explained earlier, is almost always used as a noun. The definition of “effect” is the result of a change.

Just think of it like this: if something affects your life, you will then feel the effects of that.

Some examples of “effect” is used correctly in a sentence would be:

“The effect of the storm was horrible.”

“You will feel your vision effected after taking the medicine.”

“The victory would effect her mindset for the rest of the year.”

If you want an easy way to remember when to use “effect”, think that the word “cause” ends with the letter “e”, and the word “effect” starts with an “e”. Cause leads to an effect.

But the word “effect” can sometimes be used as a verb too when it is used alongside nouns like “change”. For example, you can say”

“The rioters wanted to effect change in the current legislation.”

The word “affect” simply wouldn’t work here as it simply is not strong enough. The rioters wouldn’t want to simply “affect change”. They want to “create change” –and remember create and effect are synonymous with one another.

Other Handy Tricks

We get it, sometimes it can be really challenging to try to actually remember the differences between the two, even with all the tips and tricks above. Most of the time, it will come instinctively and your brain will already know what to do.