Affect and effect are two of the English language’s most commonly confused homophones. These words sound almost the same, but they have quite different meanings.
It’s no wonder that they can confuse even native English speakers and professional writers. But don’t worry: Grammarly has a quick tip to help you tell these words apart.
Affect is a verb
Affect is a verb, meaning “to influence or have an effect on something.”
It’s also used as a noun to describe the external display of emotions, such as a person’s facial expressions.
Affect and effect are two of the most confusing word pairs for English speakers, but there are some simple rules to remember to get them right pretty much all the time. To help you keep these tricky words in check, we’ve put together this handy guide.
Effect is a noun
Effect is a noun that describes the result or consequences of a change. It may also be used as a verb, meaning to produce a change in someone or something.
In these cases, the word affect is sometimes confused with effect. But these words have important differences in meaning.
It’s easy to confuse affect and effect because they both have the same pronunciation, but they mean different things in different contexts. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re using them correctly:
Affect is an adjective
Affect is an adjective that means “to impress,” and it can be used in the same way as “action” when talking about how something affects someone. It’s not often used in everyday language, but it does crop up in literature.
It is usually used in psychology to mean an outward emotional state. You might say, “The soldier had a happy affect during the presentation.”
Affect is derived from the Latin affectus, which means a mood or state produced by some external influence. Affect also comes from the verb afficere, which means to act on or influence.
Effect is a gerund
When you think about affect, you probably envision a noun that describes an appearance or impression created by something like the bright red walls of your kitchen or the sound effects from your favorite movie. It can also be a verb that refers to an action that produces something on purpose, as in those “cause and effect” papers you may have written in English class.
However, affect can also be a gerund, which is a word that looks like a verb but functions as a noun in a sentence. Using gerunds correctly can help you avoid grammar errors and strengthen your writing.
Affect is an infinitive
Affect is a verb that means to influence someone or something. It also means to change someone’s thoughts or feelings.
Affect is usually found as a verb, but it can also be used as a noun. It refers to a person’s emotional state or behavior, such as how someone’s personality affects their job performance.
Effect is a preposition
When you want to refer to the end result of something, use effect. It’s often used with words like consequence, result, and repercussion, but it can also stand alone.
This word is tricky, though, because its meanings overlap with affect and effect. They both sound pretty much the same, and that can be hard to remember when you’re writing.
Affect is a prepositional phrase
A prepositional phrase modifies a verb, noun, or adverb. They help add extra information about the object of the preposition.
When it comes to prepositional phrases, there are two main types: adverbs and adjectives.
In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives modify nouns.
But, sometimes a prepositional phrase can also govern a gerund. That’s because a prepositional phrase can modify more than one word–it can also modify a gerund or a clause.