Posted by: episystechpubs | January 12, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Affect and Effect, Revisited

Affect and effect are two words that many of us get mixed up. One of our credit union clients sent me a great photo the other day about these commonly mixed words, so I thought I’d include another article on the topic, this time from Your Dictionary.

Grammar Rules


1. Affect can be used as a verb. Use it when trying to describe influencing someone or something rather than causing it.

· Example: How does the crime rate affect hiring levels by local police forces?

· Example: The weather conditions will affect the number of people who come to the county fair this year.

2. Affect can also be used as a noun in one situation – to describe facial expression.

· Example: The young man with schizophrenia had a flat affect.

· Example: The woman took the news of her husband’s sudden death with little affect.


1. Effect can be used as a noun when you are talking about a result.

· Example: What effect did the loss have on the team?

2. Effect can be used if it follows one of these words: "into", "on", "take", "the", "any", "an" as well as "or."

· Example: The prescribed medication had an effect on the patient’s symptoms.

· Example: In analyzing a situation, it is important to take the concepts of cause and effect into consideration.

3. Effect can be used as a verb in one situation – if you want to describe something that was caused.

· Example: The new manager effected some positive changes in the office. (This means that the new manager caused some positive changes to take place in the office.)

Below are some more examples from the Your Dictionary site. Click the link to see even more!

Examples of Affect

· An early frost in Florida can affect the orange crop negatively.

· The boss’s negativity affected all the workers.

· The memoirs affected me so deeply I was brought to tears.

· Hugs can affect a person’s immune system in a positive way.

· Congress will pass a law that will greatly affect the economy.

Examples of Effect

· Transportation costs have a direct effect on the cost of retail goods.

· The effect of the medicine on her illness was surprisingly fast.

· The new law prohibiting texting while driving will go into effect tomorrow.

· In her will, she left all her personal effects to her daughter.

· The special effects in movies today are aided by computers.

Additional Information

Choosing between similar words can be challenging. When in doubt, be sure to consider whether the word you are looking for shows action (if so, you’ll probably need to use "affect") or if you are looking for an event (which would call for the word "effect.")

Photo by Tom Ha

Vice President of Information Technology

AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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