Mable Scott asks,
What is the rule for using affect or effect?
Affect is typically used as a verb meaning “to influence.”
Example: “The rain affected the skier’s performance.”
It can also mean “to put on a false show of; simulate.”
Example: “Frank often affected a British accent because he thought it made him sound smart.”
It is less commonly used as a noun to mean “feeling or emotion, especially as manifested by facial expression or body language.” As a noun, affect is pronounced with stress on the first syllable rather than the second (also, with a short “a” sound rather than a schwa).
Example: “It was difficult to tell whether Harold’s flattened affect was a result of his mental disease or the medication he took to treat it.”
Effect is typically used as a noun meaning (1) “something that follows a cause,” or (2) “an influence,” or (3) “a distinctive impression.”
- Politicians are arguing about what the effects of Social Security reform will be.
- That movie had a profound effect on the way I think about Rwanda.
- The blue tint gives the painting the effect of being cold and austere.
It can also be used as a verb meaning “to cause to come into being.”
Example: “The sweeping reforms effected a dramatic change in the way citizens viewed their civil liberties.”
The distinction between affect as a verb and effect as a verb can be quite subtle, so beware. Thanks to Mable for the great question.
Thanks for the useful example! Alas, any article on language and grammar should be carefully proofread. You wrote,
‘Example: “Frank often affected a British accented because he thought it made him sound smart.”‘
I am sure you meant “accent” rather than “accented.”
David, thanks so much for catching the error in the example. You’re absolutely right about the need for careful proofreading in articles of this sort. Lacking a copy editor for this weblog, I’m grateful to have such keen-eyed readers as you to help me out in this regard.
I want to know how active voice is changed to passive voice?And what are the rules for changing active to passive voice?
Regarding affects and effects, could you please let me know if we used the correct word in the following sentences:
Now is the time to wake up to a disease that not only affects one’s…
It affects almost everyone.
Anyone who is married knows how one’s financial position affects the marriage relationship.
what about as if/ as though and like and as?