You’re writing an important document for work. Or maybe you’re a parent writing a note to a teacher. You want to say something to the “effect of.” But is it affect? Your school-age grammar lessons in the back of your mind are telling you there’s a difference –affect vs. effect. But what is it?
Both are tricky words which take just a little bit of practice to remember how to use correctly. But I have an easy way that helps me remember the differences between the two.
Take the first letter, a in affect and remember that it means change, which has an a in the middle. Affect is a verb and change is a verb (action). Effect begins with an e, of course. It means result, which also has an e in it. Effect is usually a noun, as is result. An easy test is that you can stick the word the in front of both and it makes sense or belongs. Of course, English has a few exceptions to the rule, but you’ll cover the vast majority of correct usages with this simple trick.
I know these differences are subtle. Many of us have to consciously practice them. One of the best ways to do so is to write sentences using the words correctly.
Some examples: The astonishing effect lead to a fantastic result. OR His choice is going to affect everyone and cause change.
Now you try it. How will you best remember affect vs. effect? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments.
Like this post? I have another one just like it if you’re stumped with family’s vs. families’. Read it here.
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