Saturday, July 30, 2011

Affect vs. Effect

Affect and effect are frequently mixed up with one another, like breath and breathe.  Both "affect" and "effect" have multiple meanings - check out Common Errors in English Usage for their definitions along with some excellent contextual examples - but this blog post addresses only the most common usage for both.

"Affect" is a verb, and "effect" is a noun (in most cases). To affect is to "have an effect on."  "Affect" is often written when "effect" is what is meant.

Incorrect: "His parents' divorce had a profound affect on him."
Correct: "His parents' divorce had a profound effect on him."
Correct:  "His parents hadn't realized that their divorce would affect him that much."

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