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Grammar 101: Affect vs. Effect

by IDP IELTS — December 18th, 2019

Affect vs. effect: Two words that can cause some confusion and it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference between the two.

When do you use effect or affect (or in past tense, affected or effected)? Affect vs effect are easy to get confused. Affect is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change. Effect, on the other hand, is usually a noun that you would use to indicate the result of a change. Because “affect” and “effect” are homophones (words that sound alike), they are often confused. We’ll share some easy tips on telling them apart.

Click each topic to learn more about the differences between its and it’s.
Affect vs. effect: the difference

Is a verb: A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.


Is a noun: A word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance, or quality.

Affect vs. effect: the definitions

Make a difference to; bring about change; touch the feelings of; move emotionally.


A change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

Affect vs. effect: the synonyms

Could also mean (synonyms): Result, consequence, outcome, reaction, ramifications.


The synonyms for this word include: Influence, have an effect on, sway, modify, alter, touch, stir.

Affect vs. effect: in a sentence
  • How do cigarettes affect my brain?
  • Age-related changes in organs, tissues and other parts of your body can affect how you respond or react to medicines.
  • Throughout the performance, a number of audience members were visibly affected, brought to tears by the reality of the tale.
  • Global warming is projected to have a number of effects on the ocean.
  • He resigned with immediate effect.
  • A good diet had a positive effect on their health.
  • What are the effects of smoking on the lungs?

Reference: Cambridge Dictionary