What is the Difference Between "Affect" and "Effect"?

Do you often confuse the use of affect and effect? Maybe you do out of their similarity in spelling, but they are totally different in meaning and function.

We commonly use affect as a verb, meaning “to influence” while effect as a noun, meaning “something produced”. Examine the following sentences:

  • Scolding children in public can  harshly affect their self-esteem.
  • Scolding children in public can have harsh effects on their self-esteem.
  • Drinking sleeping pills may affect one’s appetite.
  • Changes of appetite may be one of the side effects of drinking sleeping pills.

In some instances, affect functions as a noun, and effect as a verb; however note that this usage is rare, as illustrated below:

  • Psychologists should know how to assess their client’s affect.  (feeling/emotion)
  • Randy is too weak to effect any change in his group’s attitude. (to bring about)
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