Affect vs. Effect

Hello, my wonderful readers!

Today is a lovely day, isn’t it? Whether it’s cheerfully sunny or enchantingly cloudy wherever you are, it most definitely feels like the perfect day to discuss the difference between affect and effect.

I’ve heard several people stating that they don’t really know when to use one or the other, which, quite frankly, causes my loving eyes to spill glimmering tears of wistfulness, and my heart to feel the solid squeeze of dejected melancholy.

But we are not here to wallow in sorrow! That is not what the Fairy Godwriter does! Let’s focus on the silver lining, shall we?

Those who give a hoot about their grammar, often opt to use synonyms to avoid inserting the wrong word into their sentences. Kudos to them for being  so crafty, but your favorite grammar loving fairy is here to clarify the conundrum.

Here you go, my splendid friends:

Affect is usually a verb (action word) used to state how something influences something else. Example: The heavy rains affected our neighborhood. 

Effect is usually a noun (person, place, or thing) that is used to describe consequences: The effect of the heavy rains were flooded streets in our neighborhood.


Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that I used that pesky word, usually. That is because, as most rules, this one also has its exceptions.

There are instances in which people use the word effect as a verb, or affect as a noun; but these are rare. For example: She effected the new company procedures immediately. (who talks like that anyway?)

Affect as a noun is used when describing emotion (if you’re talking about affection, you could use it that way): She showed the affect she has for her mother by taking her on a fun vacation. But again, how many people do you know who talk like that?

Unless you’re writing a scholarly paper or are a professional in an esoteric field, as long as you remember that effect refers to the consequences of something, you’ll be set to use the right word.

Much love,

The Fairy Godwriter

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