Writing Prompt
    Boot Camp

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and get the Writing Prompt Boot Camp download.

    Affect vs. Effect

    Categories: Brian Klems' The Writer's Dig, Grammar Rules Tags: Brian Klems, online editor blog.

    affect vs effectQ: Could you share some insight on the proper usage of the words affect and effect?—Charlene Clark

    The misuse of the words “affect” and “effect” is such an epidemic that some folks are considering assembling regional support groups to deal with the problem. But while the words are often used incorrectly, deciding whether to use affect or effect isn’t as tough to as you may think. Let me explain.

    “Affect” is generally used as a verb: A affects B. The eye-patch affected my vision. In this sentence, the eye-patch (A) influenced my vision (B).

    “Effect,” on the other hand, is almost exclusively used as a noun: A had an effect on B. Acting like a pirate has had a negative effect on my social life.

    So the basic rule of thumb is that “affect” is almost always a verb and “effect” is usually a noun. There are deviations from this, but when in doubt, stick to the rule. If you need help remembering, think of this mnemonic device: The action is affect, the end result is effect.

    Want other Grammar Rules? Check out:
    Who vs. Whom
    Which vs. That
    Since vs. Because
    Sneaked vs. Snuck
    Ensure vs. Insure
    Home in vs. Hone in
    Leaped vs. Leapt
    Lay vs. Lie vs. Laid 

    Perfect Your Grammar with the
    Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference!

    Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference

    If there is one baseline for good writing across genres and platforms, it’s proper grammar. With Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference, you’ll find answers to some of your most common grammar questions – and answers to questions you never thought to ask!

    From a grammar overview to the details of how to punctuate compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences, the Writer’s Digest Desk Reference is a must-have for any serious writer.


    Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
    Sign up for my free weekly eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

    Need a funny gift for Father’s Day (or any dad with a daughter)?
    Order Brian’s New Book:



    You might also like:

    • Print Circulation Form

      Did you love this article? Subscribe Today & Save 58%

    Leave a Reply