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MHS Library | Academic writing

'affect' or 'effect'?

Very clever, but you wouldn't use 'impact' every time.

1. Affect:

Affect is usually a verb meaning 'to influence'.

His teacher's negative comments affected him deeply.

I was certain that my sleepless nights would affect my performance in the test.

2. Effect:

Effect is usually a noun meaning 'the result of'.

His dog's pleading eyes had no effect on him.

The mindfulness podcast had a calming effect.

Exceptions (rare): 

Affect is sometimes used as a noun to mean the mood someone has, mainly with reference to the emotional and external factors that influence a person's ability to learn. (It is pronounced / 'ʌfekt / (uh-fect) - with the stress on the A).

Effect can be used as a verb that essentially means 'to bring something about' or 'accomplish'. For example, "Our government hopes to effect change within the anti-vaxxers' communities."

More frequently confused words

This Khan Academy resource provides an engaging video about frequently confused words, followed by interactive activities to check your understanding.