These words are often confused because of their related meanings but differing spellings.

Affect is a verb meaning “to influence.”

Effect can be both a verb and a noun. Its noun form is related to affect. (Its verb form, meaning “to accomplish” or “to put into operation,” has a different meaning and usage altogether.) In its noun form, an effect is the result of someone or something that is affecting another person or thing.

Here is an example:

Smoking affects health. The effect is lung cancer.

Affect is the verb causing the influence or change (on health). The effect is the result (lung cancer).

Posted in Word Choice.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up to receive updates by RSS feed or e-mail.


  1. Olga says:

    I thought that there is the difference between ‘to effect’ and ‘to affect’: ‘to affect’ means ‘to influence smth usually in a negative way’, ‘to effect’ is neutral. Is it really true?

  2. Anna says:

    Would you help me with this sentence:

    This change will be affect immediately or will be effect immediately?

    My grammar is realy bad, I try my best to write a sentence with with out error, but it seem very difficult for me. Your website is realy good, I will visit often for references.


  3. Leebury says:

    Ah yes, but affect can also be a noun, just to confuse even more. Affect (prounounced with the emphasis on the first syllable) is an observed emotional state. “The emotional affect stayed with me a long time after the fire.”