Top 10 grammar tips: affect and effect

These two little words seem to cause some people angst. If you’re in this category, I suggest just avoiding them. If you can’t, learn the rules and invent a memory jogger for yourself.

To understand the difference, you need to remind yourself about nouns (naming words) and verbs (doing words).

Affect means to influence.

The weather affected (verb) the outcome of the Grand Prix.

Affect is usually a verb. Occasionally it is a noun when used in a psychological context to mean feeling or emotion.

Effect means the result.

The effect (noun) was dramatic.

Effect is usually a noun. Occasionally it is used as a verb, meaning to cause or bring about a result.

To illustrate the difference:

The floods affected the town.
The effect was devastating.

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