Posted by: episystechpubs | January 29, 2013

Editor’s Corner: A is for Affect

Let’s start getting into some of the homonyms, homophones, and other words that often get a bit confused. Today I have an oldie but a goodie for you. Perhaps these rules from will stick better than my last tips on this topic.

affect vs. effect

Rule 1: Use effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause, or caused.

Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.

Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.

Rule 2: Use effect when you mean result.

Example: What effect did that speech have?

Rule 3: Also use effect whenever any of these words precede it: a, an, any, the, take, into, no. These words may be separated from effect by an adjective.

Examples: That book had a long-lasting effect on my thinking.

Has the medicine produced any noticeable effects?

Rule 4: Use the verb affect when you mean to influence rather than to cause. [KC – Don’t be afraid of this word and overuse the word “impact” instead. Impact and impacted
have other meanings and some of those meanings are pretty gross.]

Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?

Rule 5: Affect is used as a noun to mean emotional expression.

Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

And for bonus time, a few homophones:

air – what we breathe

err – make a mistake

heir – one who inherits something

aisle – passageway

I’ll – contraction for I will

isle – a small island

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