There is often confusion over the words 'effect' and 'affect'. In order to understand which to use, you must know the difference between a
noun and a verb. This is because
effect is a noun; whereas, affect is a verb. However, there are tricks to get around this.
(See 'Hot Tip' right.)
Difference between Affect and Effect
What effect did foot-and-mouth disease have on your business?
(effect - noun)
("What consequence did foot-and-mouth..." < sounds ok; effect is correct)
Did foot-and-mouth disease affect your business?
(affect - verb)
("Did foot-and-mouth disease transform your business?" < sounds ok; affect
Do not allow this incident to effect your decision.
("...to outcome/consequence/appearance your decision" < nonsense; effect
("...to transform your decision" < sounds ok; affect is correct.)
That spiral effect is effecting my eyes.
Select the correct version:|
A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT 'EFFECT' |
The word effect has several meanings. It can mean outcome, consequence or
appearance. Try using one of these instead of effect. If the sentence still makes sense, then
effect is almost certainly correct.
(This trick works because effect is a noun, just like the words outcome,
consequence and appearance. )
A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT 'AFFECT'
Try using the verb 'to transform' (in its various forms; e.g., transforming, transformed,
transforms) instead of affect. If the sentence still makes sense, then affect is almost certainly correct. However, if you find yourself using
transformation then you should be using effect, because both are nouns.
(This trick works because 'to transform' is a verb, just like 'to affect'. )
There should be no confusion with 'affecting' or 'affected'. These are always verbs.
There is a verb 'to effect'. It is quite rare, but useful in business writing. It means
'to bring into being'.
The new policy will be effected as soon as the paper is signed.