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Effect vs. Affect
Knowing whether to use effect or affect may not qualify you as a genius, but you will be demonstrating an understanding about a grammar issue most people find perplexing. I trust that the strategies offered here will clear up any confusion you have had.
Rule: Use the verb effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause or caused.
Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
Example: She effected a change in procedure.
Meaning: She brought about a change in procedure.
Rule: Use the noun effect when you mean result.
Example: What effect did that speech have?
Rule: Also use the noun effect whenever any of these words precede it: a, an, any, the, take, into, no.
Note: These words may be separated from effect by an adjective.
That book had a long-lasting effect on my thinking.
Has the medicine produced any noticeable effects?
Rule: Use the verb affect when you mean to influence rather than to cause.
Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?
Rule: Affect is also used as a noun to mean emotional expression.
Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.
Due to the E-Newsletter's large readership, we are only able to respond to individual English usage questions if submitted through GrammarBook.com's "Grammar Blog."
1. I hope that latest bank failure won't affect/effect my retirement savings.
2. The injury to the star player is likely to have a major affect/effect on the outcome of the World Cup.
3. The defendant demonstrated no affect/effect when the verdict was read by the judge.
4. What affect/effect does the moon have on the tides?
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Thank you to sharp-eyed reader David R. who noticed an error in last week's E-Newsletter on "Parentheses." David noticed in the fourth example that we specified an em dash but actually used an en dash. We have made the correction in our Grammar Blog section on the GrammarBook.com website so that the example reads: He finally answered—after taking five minutes to think—that he did not understand the question.
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Pop Quiz Answers
1. I hope that latest bank failure won't affect my retirement savings.
2. The injury to the star player is likely to have a major effect on the outcome of the World Cup.
3. The defendant demonstrated no affect when the verdict was read by the judge.
4. What effect does the moon have on the tides?
Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.