Affect. Effect. Which to Choose?

Affect/verb – Effect/noun.

By Annette Rey

Lots of books will tell you everything you don’t want to know about these words. My desire is not to denigrate the English language, or the authors of those helpful books, but to make this article a short explanation of which of these words to use and when.

The following mental exercise should implant in your brain. Use this exercise and the next time you are creating a sentence that uses affect or effect, you will not pause as to which word is the correct one to use.

Affect. First, do a visual. What word is listed first in this article? Affect, right. It starts with the letter A. A is the first letter of the alphabet. Think, first. Think, beginning.

Something has to happen first to an object to A-ffect it. Think of A in action = A in affect. A comes first.

Sentence: There was a strange light in that movie that affected my eyesight.

The sentence is describing something happened first to someone’s eyesight.

Effect. Do another visual. What word is listed last in this article? Effect, right. It starts with the letter E. End starts with E. End is the last occurrence in a sequence of events.

Effect is the end result of an action.

Sentence: The effect on my eyesight was blurred vision.

The sentence is describing the end result of an action on the eyesight.

It’s that simple.

A happens first, happens to – Affect.

E = end and is the results of an action – Effect.

So ask yourself, is what I am trying to say at the beginning or the end?

The dog’s barking affected my night’s sleep.

The effect on my sleep last night caused me to be irritable today.

Just think: A comes first (happens to), E is the end (the result).

If you have complaints or improvements, please let me know.

This is just a personal technique of my own. It has been of help to others. I hope this small trick to remember which word to use helps you, too.







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