Let's Talk About Effect and Affect

English can be strange. Words like two, to, and too can cause confusion for readers and writers alike. But, one of the more confusing word combinations comes with effect and affect. When spoken, these words sound nearly identical, and it is easy to let the correct usage slide by without much thought, however, when writing it's important to select the proper word.

The easiest way to remember the difference between effect and affect is to remember their parts of speech. Effect is most often used as a noun. A noun is a person, place, or thing, and an effect is most usually a tangible result. Try to think of effect as an outcome of an event. For example, a scientific study may be titled The Effect of Reading Before Bed. You can also remember that both effect and event start with an e.

As for affect, it is used as a verb. Verbs are action words, so try to remember that affect is always in action, and action and affect both start with an a. Affect is often used when something influences another. For example, the scientists in the above study could conclude that reading before bed affects the type of dreams an individual has each night. In this sentences, affect is in action by influencing the dreams.

Aside from remember event and effect both start with e and affect and action both start with a, there is a fun mnemonic to help keep these two words straight. When it doubt just think of the word raven.

Remember

Affect

Verb

Effect

Noun

It's as easy as that! So, next time these two words confuse you, just take a deep breath and remember their parts of speech. And, when in doubt, don't forget the raven

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Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable.io, and has been building websites since the early 90s. He's one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.

       


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