Affect vs Effect – The Difference and When To Use Each

Two words that are commonly mixed up, but can be simple to understand, are affect and effect. Affect is a verb that usually means “to impact” or “to change” whereas Effect is a noun that refers to the outcome of an event or situation that caused a change.

Simple, right?

Here’s some more to help you determine whether affect or effect is the right word to use.

When To Use Affect (with examples)

“Affect” is a verb that is used to mean “to impact” or “to change,” so it is used when talking about how something caused that change.

An example is:

“The terrible performance affected the outcome so heavily that the home team and defending state champions lost the game.”

Another example is:

“Sugar affects my mood the next day because it causes my blood sugar to spike and then crash.”

Affect is the action.

When To Use Effect (with examples)

Effect is a noun referring to the outcome of the situation.

One example is:

“The effect of the politician’s speech could not be understated, as it caused the crowd to jump out of their seats in applause.”

An example from pop culture is the movie The Butterfly Effect (not Affect!) starring Ashton Kutcher.

Affect vs Effect – Which To Use?

Use affect when you’re referring to the action.

Use effect when you’re referring to the outcome or change.

It is also possible to use both affect and effect in a single sentence!

“The effect of the touchdown affected the opposing team’s ability to concentrate.”

The Affect vs Effect Memory Trick

There are a few memory tricks that you can use to keep affect and effect straight in your mind.

  1. Affect refers to the Action (verb)
  2. Effect is the End result

There are others but if you simply remember that Affect = Action and Effect = End then you won’t go astray!