Affect Versus Effect

When to use affect and effect is one of the most common questions I get. This is an expanded show based on the original episode covering when to use affect with an a and when to use effect with an e.

Mignon Fogarty,
July 29, 2008
Episode #121

Page 2 of 2

Rare Uses of Affect and Effect

So what about those rare meanings that don't follow the rules I just gave you? Well, affect can be used as a noun when you're talking about psychology--it means the mood that someone appears to have. For example, "She displayed a happy affect." Psychologists find it useful because they know that you can never really understand what someone else is feeling. You can only know how they appear to be feeling.

And, effect can be used as a verb that essentially means "to bring about," or "to accomplish." For example, you could say, "Aardvark hoped to effect change within the burrow."


Follow Grammar Girl on Facebook or Twitter.

Download the Chapter on "Dirty Words" From Grammar Girl's Book

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips book

"Affect" versus "effect" is just one of the many confusing word choices that Mignon Fogarty covers in the "Dirty Words" chapter of her New York Times best-seller, Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. You can download the chapter by clicking here.

You can order a copy of the paperback edition from any of these online retailers or pick one up at your favorite bookstore:

Amazon    Barnes and Noble


The book is also available in an e-book edition.  You can download a copy wherever e-books are sold.



Related Tips

You May Also Like...