Difference between affect and effect

The difference between affect and effect is that while affect is a verb, effect is a noun. There are though, occasions when effect is also used as a verb.

Both are used to talk about impacts, though in slightly different ways. 

Given the differences in their forms (verb vs noun), you have to be careful which one you choose when you create your sentence. 


Affect is a verb, and so it takes a tense. It's actual meaning is:

  • to have an influence on someone or something, or to cause a change in someone or something

The following are some examples of affect in a sentence:

Examples of Affect:

  • Your problems affect me deeply as well

  • The loud noise is affecting my sleep

  • He felt unwell in the test, which has affected his final result

  • They were badly affected by the decision

  • The divorce affected him badly

  • I'm sure the change will affect us all


Effect is a noun so it does not take a tense. The meaning is:

  • the result of a particular influence

Here are some examples of effect in a sentence.

Examples of Effect:

  • The medicine I took had no effect on my condition

  • The effects of the war on the country were terrible

  • I'm suffering from the effects of heat stroke

  • She's using her negotiating skills to good effect

Effect as a verb

We have looked at the main difference between affect and effect, but there are some situations where we can use effect as a verb. When it is used in this way the meaning is:

  • to achieve something and cause it to happen

When used in this way, it is not a main verb that can take a tense, but rather as an infinitive with 'to'. It's commonly used to talk about change or solutions.

Here is an example:

  • The electorate wanted to effect change in the country, so they voted in a new government.  
    (in other words, cause change to happen)

Difference between affect and effect

These examples illustrate how both the words can be used to talk about impacts but in slightly different ways:

  • My tiredness affected my driving
  • My tiredness had an effect on my driving

  • The divorce affected him badly
  • The effect of the divorce on him was terrible

Now practice what you have learned in this affect vs effect quiz


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