Affect vs Effect

When do you write affect vs effect?

In general, you should use affect where a verb would go, and effect where a noun would go. First I’ll explain how to remember that, and then give you the long, nerdy explanation of how the rules work…

How do you remember when to use affect vs effect?

Here’s my own trick for remembering the difference – two steps:

  1. A is for action, so you should generally use affect where you need a doing word.
  2. Try checking it with the phrase “cause and effect”. “Cause” ends in an e, so you need the e for “effect”, so you need to use the noun.

e.g. The (cause and) effect of the new rules on the super industry has yet to be seen. = Right

e.g. The (cause and) affect of the new rules on the super industry has yet to be seen. = Wrong

Affect is a verb, a doing word – most of the time

It usually means “to change”.

e.g. The government’s new rules in 2020 affected (changed) when you could withdraw your super.

e.g. Our government’s decision was probably affected (influenced, changed, touched) by the number of people experiencing financial difficulty at the time.

Exception

Affect can occasionally be a noun meaning “appearance” or the verb “to pretend or put on an appearance of”.

e.g. The team had a flat affect throughout the long meeting.

e.g. In uni, I affected a Kiwi accent to get attention.

Effect is a noun, an object or subject of a sentence – most of the time

e.g. The new rules were put into effect in a great hurry. Super funds definitely felt the effect of these changes.

Exception

Effect can sometimes show up as the verb “to bring about”.

e.g. The government wanted to effect change in the economy.

The cutest affect vs effect meme

Now, you all know how much I do NOT recommend Grammarly.com – because it is an American site/app and so many of the “rules” they talk about are wrong for Australian grammar…

But I just loved this meme they made so much I had to share!

Image source: Grammarly.com

(C) TJ Withers-Ryan, 2022. Please credit me when you repost or share, thanks!