Posted by: episystechpubs | April 18, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Affect and Effect Annual Visitation

Can you explain the difference between affect and effect?

This is probably the most frequently asked question I get. And boy do I get it! I sometimes have problems with when to use affect and effect, too. In fact, I believe I gave a friend the incorrect information at dinner the other night, which is why I also tried to distract her with a glass of hard cider. When personally faced with this challenge, sometimes I just rewrite the sentence so I’m sure I’m using the right word.

I have generally figured out that affect is used more often as a verb, and effect is used more often as a noun. How does this help? Well, in basic circumstances like this:

· The poison in the well affected (verb) the taste of the water.

· The rainfall this year had the effect (noun) of painting the desert with wildflowers.

· A bad attitude might affect (verb) your whole evening.

· The sound effects (noun) in that movie were fantastic!

But here’s the tough part: what about when affect is a noun, and effect is a verb?

· May I please speak with someone who can effect (verb) change? No more of this nonsense with passing the buck!

· That guy had the affect (noun) of a spoiled rich kid who had never been told no.

Officially, here are some definitions from Merriam-Webster:

affect (verb): To produce an effect upon.[KC – Okay, this is from the dictionary. I’d like to say, “Thanks, but no thanks, M-W. Are you kidding me?” Let’s try again.]

· affect (verb): To act on. To cause. To produce a response in someone.

· affect (noun): psychology a set of observable manifestations of an experienced emotion : the facial expressions, gestures, postures, vocal intonations, etc., that typically accompany an emotion

· effect (verb): to succeed in doing or achieving (something) : to cause or bring about (something) : accomplish 2 : to make (something, such as a plan or policy) functional or operative : to put (something) into effect

· effect (noun): a change that occurs as a consequence of something that happens or is done : something that follows from an antecedent : result, outcome

I hope this helps!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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