Thursday, January 6, 2011

❏This vs That ❐: Affect vs Effect

Welcome to Thursday's


Ok, I seem to notice a pattern, if you will,  with friends and co-workers when it comes to certain words in the English language (words I tend to call 'English Misfits'), whereby their meanings or uses are not properly understood.  Hence, because of this, using them incorrectly orally as well as in writing is inevitable. 

This week we'll start with the above words:  affect vs. effect.

Knowing when to use affect or effect in a sentence can be a bit tricky. These words are examples of homonyms. Homonyms are words that are similar, but have very different meanings. Other examples of homonyms are two/to/too, accept/except, and there/their/they're - all of which I shall be discussing in other posts to follow.

Basically, when using 'affect' it's usually in a form of a verb, you know, an action word, so when using affect, replace it with a verb and see if it still makes sense like I did in the example below. 

Example using affect:  My hair was affected by the rain./The rain will affect my hair.
So, le'ts just replace the word affect with another verb and let's see if we get the same results...

My hair was ruined by the rain./The rain will ruin my hair.

As for effect, the best way to explain how and when to use it is just by thinking it's the 'result/result of' something.  The best way I can describe this is by using the following examples below:

Example using effect:  The sound effects were astounding at the concert./The effect of bad cooking is evident in the taste.
So, once again, let's replace the word effect with the word 'result/result of'....

The sound results were astounding at the concert./The result of bad cooking is evident in the taste.

Ok, I hope this helps a bit, if not, if anyone has a better explanation... please share.

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