Have you ever wondered what the difference is between affect and effect?
Well, we’ve got good news! You don’t need to be a linguist to understand these two words’ differences. In fact, it’s pretty simple:
The affect is how something makes you feel. It’s your emotional response to something. For example, if you talk about your long flight home and how excited you are to see everyone again, that would be an example of “affect.” When it comes to language learning, this is usually referred to as emotion recognition—the ability to recognize emotions in the spoken word from other people.
The effect is what happens when something affects you emotionally in the first place— it’s what happens in the end if someone says something that makes you feel happy or sad (or anything else). When it comes to language learning, this is usually referred to as outcome recognition—the ability to recognize outcomes from other people’s words and actions.
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If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve heard someone use the words “affect” or “effect,” you know that they can mean two very different things. That’s because these are two of English’s most commonly confused words! So first, we’re going to take a look at what these words mean, and then we’ll get into some examples of when each word is used incorrectly.
these words mean, and then we’ll get into some examples of when each word is used incorrectly.
|Used as a verb
|Used as a noun
|It means to impact or change
|Use to indicate the result of a change
Affect is often used to describe how something feels, like how something makes you feel or how it makes you act. It can be used in the sense of emotion (I was really affected by his speech), but it’s also used to feel like something (My car doesn’t affect me anymore).
The effect is also tricky—it can mean three different things:
- The result of an action or event
- A feeling or change brought about by something
- The outcome of an event
Both words are often misused when they mean #1 (the result), which leads to confusing situations like this: Did your speech affect him? If so, why didn’t he tell us?
What’s the difference between affect and affect?
Affect refers to how you feel about something, while effect refers to what happens due to something.
You can affect things around you by manipulating or changing them. For example, a person could have an effective relationship with their dog by petting it and feeding it treats. That would be an effective relationship! However, the dog would feel happy when being petted and fed treats—this would affect their affective relationship with their owner.
On the other hand, if the person were to say, “I am going to punch that guy in the face because he left his wallet in my car,” that wouldn’t be an effective relationship with anyone else—it would just be punching someone out for no reason at all. The owner would feel angry and upset about losing their wallet—that would be an effect of this particular situation—not an effective relationship with anyone else!
Example sentences of affect and effect
- Ron was so affected by the last event he couldn’t even speak for a week.
- The news affected Sam so much that he went white as a sheet.
- Christine was so affected by her cancer diagnosis that she couldn’t even eat solid foods anymore.
- Rock was so influenced by the music he just got up and danced in his seat!
- The product has been shown to help improve your mental state, making you feel happier, more confident, and more relaxed.
- The impact of the flood was devastating
- The pollution in the country is getting worse day by day.
- The weather has a predictable effect on traffic.
If you want to be able to speak with others effectively and master the language-learning game, it’s time that you understand the difference between affect and effect. So start practising your listening skills, and strive to achieve more.
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In the end, having a deep understanding of emotion and outcome recognition will help you better interact with others. It will improve your ability to understand the listener’s response, react to the speaker’s attitude and resolve problematic situations.
Now that you better understand these two often misused words, you’ll be able to avoid them in your writing. But, in the end, what’s most important is that you can convey your message and intended meaning to the people who matter: the reader.