Affect or Effect?

When do you use affect? When do you use effect?

Those questions came from a young relative who is having trouble remembering when to use which word in his sentences. He is still smarting from a grade on his latest English paper, so I agreed to help. I had the affect/effect problem at one time, until someone wiser than I provided a solution that worked for me.

Here’s what that mentor taught me years ago (but updated with examples that a sports-savvy youngster of today can understand):

“Affect” as a verb means to influence — as in “Losing the game will affect (influence or have an influence on) the team’s standings in the league.

“Effect” as a verb means to bring about or cause — as in “The players were able to effect (bring about) a change in the schedule.”

“Effect” as a noun means result — as in “A knee injury can be one effect (result) of the lack of practice.”

If he plugs those meanings into his sentences, my young relative may find it easier to keep his affects and his effects straight. And that may affect his next English grade.

Please leave a comment.

©2007 by Laverne Daley
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