Affect vs. Effect: Grammar Help You Can Remember


These two words, affect and effect, cause a great deal of consternation in English, no doubt because they sound similar and each can be either a noun or a verb. The quickest rule of thumb is that, in most cases, you affect something (verb) and cause an effect (noun).

Side note: the noun affect is pronounced AFFect, as opposed to all the other instances of both words, which put the emphasis on the second syllable.

Second side note: the less common meaning of the verb affect is to pretend or feign something (as in the example in the link where one can “affect a Southern accent”). I couldn’t fit that into the rhyme. 🙂

Finally, here’s your hopefully memorable quip:

From a cause, an effect, about that there’s no doubt;
And you’re effecting a change if you bring it about.
Affect as a noun is likely not what you meant,
So affect others’ grammar and send this to them.

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