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Affect Definition and Examples

Primarily, “affect” is used as a verb. That means that it is performing an action on something or someone. The actions that have been taken by one thing “affects” the state of the other. In other words, when something “affects” something else, it changes it or has an impact on it. For example:

  • Working with Pam has been great. She positively AFFECTS whatever group she works with.
  • It has been so rainy the past few weeks. It’s starting to AFFECT my mood.
  • John had some trouble this morning, but it didn’t AFFECT his work.

Effect Definition and Examples

The word “effect” is usually used as a noun. In most cases, it shows the result of something that has occurred. So when something “affects” something else, the result is an “effect.” Let’s take a look:

  • Her efforts to improve the community are really having a positive EFFECT.
  • My project didn’t have the EFFECT I was looking for, but it’s still not bad.
  • The EFFECTS of regular exercise are great for the body.

Learn more with the difference between Effected vs Affected.

How to Use Affect vs Effect Correctly

There are also a few more points to address. While we can “effective” as an adjective to describe something, we wouldn’t say something is “affective.” “Effective” means that something works well or that it has the desired “effect.” “Affective” is a word usually associated with psychology. This refers to mental states, moods, or conditions.

So let’s look at some more examples and see which ones use affect vs effect the correct way taking climate change as an example:

1. When the EFFECTS of climate change become worse, the economy will change.

2. Walking or taking public transportation is an EFFECTIVE way to reduce carbon pollution.

3. That’s because when fewer people use cars, it AFFECTS the amount of carbon we produce.

4. If people used cars less, the EFFECTS would greatly help reduce the impact of this issue.

So, how did it go? Do you know the answer? Numbers 1 and 2 used these words the wrong way. Numbers 3 and 4 used them the right way.

Numbers 1 and 2 should be “effects” and “effective.” For number 1, we use “effects” because it is something that has already happened (the result). For number 2, we should use “effective” because the focus of the sentence is more about reaching the desired goal and doesn’t really deal with psychology, state of mind, or someone’s mood.

Numbers 3 and 4 are fine the way they are. In number 3, the action of not using a car directly impacts the amount of carbon that is put into the air (an action is being taken that changes it). In number 4, we are talking about what results the previous action would bring about. In this case, it isn’t something that happened, but something that is likely to happen as a result of future actions taken (just remember that results have an “effect”).



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