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Affect vs Effect

I have a confession to make. I suspect that I am a bit dyslexic. I have written professionally for the last twenty years and have been a published author for the last seven but still I struggle to get Affect versus Effect into my head.

To be honest, in the past, I have totally relied on Shelley, the Libertad editor, to pick up my mistakes.

If, like me, you want to make sure you never ever again make yourself look like a fool and get a black line through your work, you might want to go over the following tips and exercises.

I will hand you over to Shelley and see you on the other side.

Antonio.

 What Antonio fails to notice is that I have the following stuck on a Post-It note above my desk!

 Shelley.

 

Affect:

Affect is a verb meaning ‘influence or cause someone or something to change’.

Think of the word ‘Affect’ as a punch thrown by the Subject in a sentence that causes change to the noun or pronoun.

  • Our governments (subject) continue to affect (change) how we live.
  • The economy has been severely affected (changed) by the constant lockdowns (subject).

A quick Libertad tip is to try replacing Affect with the word ‘Change’ to see if it fits.

 

Effect:

Somewhat confusingly, Effect is a noun that means ‘change or result’. The way in which an event, action, or person changes someone or something.

Think of the word ‘Effect’ as the result of being punched by the Subject of a sentence.

  • Many people today understand the serious effects (results) of eating genetically modified food.
  • A lot of parents worry about the effect (result) of social media on their children’s behaviour.

Libertad tip on knowing which one is correct – try replacing the word Effect with ‘Result’.

  

Never get confused again, try these Libertad practice questions:

  1. An early frost in Malaga can …………… (affect/effect) the orange crop badly.
  2. The new law prohibiting smoking in your own home will come into …………… (affect/effect) tomorrow.
  3. Mainstream Media can have a huge …………… (affect/effect) on public opinion.
  4. A good night’s sleep will have a positive …………… (affect/effect) on your health.
  5. How much you read will …………… (affect/effect) the size of your vocabulary.
  6. My parents …………… (affect/effect) my self-image and helped me believe in myself.

If you can think of anything we missed or any other great example to help Antonio remember the difference between affect and effect please let us know in the comments.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Noelene Sanderson

    These are great examples, and very useful reminders!
    Like yourselves, and I am sure many others, I feel irritated when encountering the use of the wrong word – even before analysing what it is that is wrong! I shall keep your analyses handy for reference if in doubt! Thanks.

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