Ever been puzzled about using "effect" vs "affect"?

A woman with a confused face.

You're not alone! Let's make it simple. We're here to help you understand the basic difference between these two words so you can use them correctly every time.

Understanding "Effect"

"Effect" is what happens because of something.

Example: Eating too much candy can have the effect of making your tummy ache. (effect = tummy ache)

Just like a button turns on a light, actions have effects (flip the switch, effect = light turns on/off). It's cause and effect, simple as that!

A woman turns on a light switch in a basement.

Grasping "Affect"

"Affect" is how something influences or changes something else.

Example: Rain can affect your plans for a picnic. You might need to stay indoors.

What changes if there is rain? How is the plan affected?

"Affect" helps us understand what changes or how something is influenced when an external factor, like rain, happens.

A hand dips into water, creating the ripple affect. Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash

Imagine you drop a pebble in water — the ripples spreading are like how one thing can affect many others. How does the pebble dropping change things? It creates ripples.

Effect vs Affect: Spotting the Difference

"Effect" is what happens.

"Affect" is how it happens.

Example: The loud music had the effect (what?) of making everyone dance.

Loud music can affect your party (how?) by making people want to get up and boogie

Cast members of the office dancing.

Effect vs Affect: Common Mistakes

Mix-up alert! People often use "effect" when they mean "affect" and vice versa.

Example: The news about the surprise party affected ✅ (not effected ⛔) her deeply.

A carton bunny says,


Select the correct sentences below:

Grammar and Word Forms

"Effect" is usually a noun, representing a result.

"Affect" is typically a verb, indicating the action of influencing or changing something.

Example: You might say, "The new law had a positive effect (noun) on crime."

OR The weather can affect (verb) our plans."

A child says to an adult,

Use RAVEN to:

  • Remember

  • Affect (is a)

  • Verb

  • Effect (is a)

  • Noun

A raven says image created by the author via Canva

Take Action

Remember that the key to learning any language is using the language you've learned as much as possible through multiple input forms: hear it, say it, speak it, write it, and you're on your way! A woman sitting in a lotus position says,

Ready to practice effect vs. affect?


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