Difference between Affect and Effect

Affect and effect are two of the most commonly misspelt words in the English language. Though strikingly similar, these two words have distinctly different meanings. This article will help explain how to use these words.


Affect is a verb, the meaning of which is usually to change something, influence something, or produce an alteration in something. An example of the verb affect in a sentence is “The movie was strongly affecting the young man, who began to cry.” Another example would be: “This year’s corn harvest has been badly affected by the dry weather.”

Effect is a noun, meaning a change that has occurred, or a result of something. An example of the word effect in a sentence would be: “the interior decoration of the house had a calming effect.” Sometimes effect can be used as a verb, for “the interior decorator effected some calming changes in the house.” In this sense “effect” means “carried out”. Effect, however, is most often used as a noun. Examples would include: “The sad movie had the effect of making the young man cry.” Or “The effect of the dry weather was a ruined corn harvest”.

Comparison chart

Affect Effect
To influence something, change something, or produce an alteration in something. A change that has been brought about.
A verb Usually a noun, but is sometimes used as a verb.

Affect vs Effect

What is the difference between affect and effect? The difference is in the usage and syntax of the words.

“Affect” is used to describe the action of making a change in something. “Effect” is used to describe a change that has occurred. “Affect” is a verb, and “effect” is a noun, although sometimes “effect” can be used as a verb.

Rather than explaining these abstractly, below are a number of examples with explanations. The explanations discuss why affect was used instead of effect and vice versa.

“The medication strongly affected me, and I found myself drowsy and dizzy.”

In this case, “affect” is being used as a verb, and the medication is that which has brought about a change in the speaker.

“The speech had a tremendous effect on the troops, who rallied to victory.”

In this case, “effect” is being used as a noun, and it is the speech that is bringing about a change on the troops.

“The rally from the rousing speech eventually effected a great victory in the battle.”

“Effect” is being used as a verb in this sentence. The meaning is that the speech caused a great victory to come about.


This video accurately describes the changes between the words.