1. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    Affect vs Effect

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by katica, Jun 15, 2011.

    No matter how many websites I go to trying to understand the difference, I still can't do it.

    Can someone explain this to me in a way that I will understand and hopefully in a way that will be easy to remember? Because I don't think I've ever used these words correctly.
     
  2. martial_wolf
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    martial_wolf Member

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    Effect essentially just denotes the results of something. Like the effect of blank on blank is blank. Or (pulling this straight from Strunk & White) "a charming effect was produced."

    Affect is a little different. It a way to describe an influence. Like he affected a warm smile.

    Yes, I still get confused about it.
     
  3. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a noun, "affect" means emotional influence. "He displayed effect" means he looked happy, sad, or whatever. "He said it with affect" means "he said it with feeling". "He never shows any affect" means he seems emotionless and doesn't react to things around him. (While an "effect" is a general influence.)
     
  4. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. Use them accordingly.

    Edit: What Islander said.
     
  5. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    Not according to things I've read. Effect can also be a verb and when you use affect instead of effect in those cases, its incorrect.
     
  6. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    I hoped my puking on his shoes wouldn't EFFECT our relationship.

    He walked into the room, trying to AFFECT a confident air.

    When she poured water on my head, the EFFECT wasn't what she was anticipating; especially not my fist in her face.

    His death hurt so badly there was no way I could AFFECT happiness before these people.

    His AFFECTED accent was so horribly fake I couldn't stand listening to him!

    The drug really EFFECTED my ability to think rationally.


    Her AFFECTED accent really EFFECTED my mood. Counldn't she just stop it already?! She'd never even been to france!



    Hope that helps!
     
  7. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    In my most simplest term, the word affect means to act upon on something, such as a disease affecting a human being or a tornado has affected a city. Effect means to make something happen. For example, a tornado is about to take effect, or the doctors announced that a disease in your body is taking place or is about be in effect. (These are probably bad examples, but I tried though. Sorry)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Both effect and affect can either be a noun or a verb, but resulting in four distinct meanings.

    The effect of the speech was that he fell asleep, snoring loudly. (noun, the result from a cause)
    No matter which controls he operated, he could not affect the vehicle's course. (verb, to cause a change)
    We can count on him to effect change. (verb, to bring about [usually change])
    Her flat affect is a symptom of her sociopathy. (noun, visible aspects of mood)
     
  9. SteamWolf
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    SteamWolf Senior Member

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    What Cogito said.

    It helps to think of Affect as a cause, and Effect as a result. This is of course not entirely correct, but it's an easy way of differentiating them.
     
  10. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    If I think about all you just said really hard, then I get it, but I wish there was an easier way.
     
  11. Padme Skywalker
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    Padme Skywalker New Member

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    I got this from my grammar book:

    Affect means "to influence."
    Did his speech affect (influence) their decision?

    Effect, when used as a verb, means "to accomplish."
    The war effected (accomplished) great changes.

    Effect, when used as a noun, means "the result of an action."
    The effect (result) of his actions was a desired one.

    I hope that helps! :)
     
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  12. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    On a complete sidebar, I'm known as the office grammar Nazi on this and other pet peeves. I've been known to send back edited E-mails to my boss and my employees when they screw this up. :D [tongue and cheek usually as I'm not actually a jerk of a boss.]

    Other fun grammatical mistakes to attack your co-workers for:

    there v. their
    were v. where
    a lot (not alot)
    media (is plural medium is a singular outlet)
    funner (not a word)

    etc.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    The effect [n.] of the committee effecting [v.] a change in the rules affected [v.] the boy's ability to qualify for the race. When asked how he felt about it, his flat affect [n.] worried his therapist.
     
  14. SteamWolf
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    SteamWolf Senior Member

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    Oh yeah, don't get me started on false plurals. 'Equipments' sends me into angry rants at marketing managers.
     
  15. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    Would it help to think of them as entirely separate words?

    I doubt when you think of a car-trunk that you worry about a tree-trunk or an elephant's trunk. Or right/wrong vs right/left vs human rights... and so on.

    Would it be easier if you didn't try to think at first about whether and how "affect (v)" may be related to "affect (n)"?
     
  16. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    That one drove my 6th grade English teacher so crazy that she made a point of counting "alot" as TWO spelling errors -- one for "a" and one for "lot".

    That's the year I learned to spell "a lot" correctly. :cool:


    I used to hear "more {adjective}er" a lot, and it always drove me batty. (More battier than I already am. Or at least more battier(y)). Haven't heard it in a while, fortunately. (That's more a verbal tic than a written one, I think.)
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think both of these should be 'affected'.

    Good thread btw.
     
  18. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    Couldn't both be correct depending on context.
     
  19. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I suppose. But they would be extremely odd sentences.

    I hoped my puking on his shoes wouldn't EFFECT our relationship.

    Effect as a noun means to bring about. How would puking on someone's shoes bring about a relationship? I suppose if a relationship does form from an event like that, it'd be a strong one. :D

    The drug really EFFECTED my ability to think rationally.

    This one is really interesting. A drug that brings about rational thinking? Something like that should be mandatory for all people!
     
  20. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    LOL! Maybe I don't have as firm a grasp on those words as I thought I did!!
     
  21. T.N.Korgan
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    T.N.Korgan New Member

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    I've never thought about affect/effect. I just know about effect, but I found this very informative about both.

    English was not my best subject in school. It amuses me that I found a passion for it about five years after graduating. Because of this, I have alot to brush up and relearn.
     
  22. Word Dancer
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    Word Dancer Member

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    Affect means to influence. "Do you think the injury will affect his game?"

    Effect is the result. "I have no idea what effect this serum will have on the immune system."
     
  23. Socrates
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    Socrates Active Member

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    Good examples Word Dancer
     

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