Difference Between Affect and Effect (With Table)

Homophones: these are words having a similar sound, or pronunciation but with a totally different meaning. Homophones are quite common in English and are often misleading to the listeners. It is important to have knowledge of basic homophones used in day-to-day life so that we don’t end up mixing the words leading to miscommunication.

Also, there are plenty of words in the English vocabulary having a slight change in spelling and pronunciation but mean something entirely different. In some cases, there are many words having a similar sound while pronunciation but have different meanings. One such typical example includes words like affect and effect.

Affect vs Effect 

The main difference between Affect and Effect is that ‘affect’ is commonly used as a verb while ‘effect’ is used as a noun. Affect means ‘to change’ or ‘to have an influence’. ‘Effect’ refers to a consequence of an action or a result of an action. Both of them are homonyms and are used regularly in daily life.

Affect‘ comes from the Latin term ‘afficere’ which means to influence someone mainly used as a verb. Affect is generally used when an alteration is to be shown or when something is influenced by a specific thing. It is mostly used as an action verb used to describe someone’s action to describe a change.

‘Effect’ also comes from a Latin term ‘efficere’ that refers to change caused by an action or consequence of an action. Effects show the outcome of an action or the change a process has caused. It is mainly used as a noun to describe the outcomes of situations or events.

Comparison Table Between Affect and Effect

Parameters of ComparisonAffectEffect
MeaningAffect means to have an influenceEffect means a consequence or change due to a specific action
EtymologyComes from the Latin word ‘afficere’Comes from the Latin word ‘efficere’
Usage as a verbUsed to describe a change of any kind.Used in cases to show realization.
Usage as a nounCan be used to express emotions.Means ‘to have an influence’
ExamplesThe workshop has greatly affected me.The workshop has a great effect on me.

What is Affect?

Affect means to have an impact or to influence something that results in a change or makes a difference. Affect can be used as a verb to describe changes in a situation or explain the changes. It can be also used as a noun to express your emotions. Example: A visit to the historical site has greatly affected my views on history as a subject. In both of the cases, the first case has a broader usage in daily life. Affect is mostly used as a verb rather than being used as a noun.

Some of the examples of the usage of ‘affect’ are:

  • The fashion industry is greatly affected by recent trends and celebrity fashion trends.
  • The disease affected many Asian people in the past.
  • The speech was so motivating, all the students were greatly affected by the mentor’s words.
  • Parents’ words deeply affect their children.
  • The leader must have affected them to get such an overwhelming response from the crowd.
  • The anti-hair fall shampoo has greatly affected my hair in the past few days.

Affect is generally used to describe the ‘change’ or ‘an influence on something’. A pneumonic to remember the usage of affect is: A is for Alteration, A is for Affect. This is a nice trick to remember the proper usage of affect.

What is Effect?

Effect is a term that refers to a consequence or a change resulting from an action or any kind of event. ‘Effect’ can be also used both as a verb and as a noun. It is used as a noun while creating an expression of something or someone. For example, the medication will have side effects if not tested properly. As a verb, effect is used to refer to something that is about to happen.

Some examples using the word ‘effect’:

  • The in-house volleyball team has a great effect on the other team players.
  • The medicine shows no effect when taken with a high-fat meal.
  • The principal’s speech has a positive effect on the students.
  • The new traffic law comes into effect from April.
  • The rainfall will have a positive effect on the barren lands.
  • Yoga will have positive effects on your body and mind.

‘Effect’ is generally used to describe the ‘cause and effect’ scene i.e. the result of something, or the final result. A pneumonic to remember the usage of effect is: E is for End, E is for Effect. This helps to remember the proper usage of effect.

Main Differences Between Affect and Effect

  1. Affect comes from the Latin term ‘afficere’ whereas the etymology of effect comes from the Latin term ‘efficere’.
  2. Affect means to have an influence on whereas effect refers more to the consequence of an action.
  3. Affect is mostly used as a verb while ‘effect’ is mainly used as a noun. 
  4. Affect can be used to describe an influence of something while effect will relate to the particular influence that has been caused.
  5. Examples: The mentor’s speech has affected a lot of students. The mentor’s speech had a great effect on me.
  6. For example, if object-1 affects object-2, then object-2 will have the effect of object-1 on itself.

Conclusion

The English vocabulary has so many words used by people in daily conversations. It is easy to mix up words that sound the same (although with different spellings) but have different meanings i.e. homophones. Having a basic knowledge of the difference between the homophones helps to have a smooth conversation.

Affect is used to show any kind of influence of a person or an action. Effect is used to show any kind of change caused by an action or the consequence of an action. Affect and effect can be used for the same thing, but from two different perspectives.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S105381191200420X
  2. https://research.aota.org/ajot/article-abstract/36/9/571/809/Sensory-Integration-Therapy-Affect-or-Effect?redirectedFrom=fulltext