Misused Words: Affect vs Effect

The misuse of affect and effect is very common. Here is a brief explanation of how to use these words correctly.

Image by ArtsyBee (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by ArtsyBee (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Affect is a verb meaning to change or influence.

For Example: Jan’s touching speech affected everyone in the room.

For Example: Zoe does not want to affect anyone’s opinions regarding the proposed membership changes.


Effect is a noun meaning a cause or result.

For Example: Hiring an editor will have a positive effect on your writing career.

For Example: I couldn’t believe the effect her behavior had on her sister.


Grammar girl has a great trick for remembering the difference between the two. She calls it the RAVEN trick. This is how she explains it: “Because raven has the letters A-V-E-N in it, and those also stand for Affect: Verb      Effect: Noun (You can read the whole trick here.)


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