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Affect vs. Effect
The easiest way to remember the difference between affect and effect really depends on your learning style. I’m a functional learner, so it’s easiest for me to remember that affect is usually used as a verb, whereas effect is usually used as a noun.
The following examples illustrate this common usage:
The rainy conditions affected the outcome of the baseball game. In this case, affected is the verb. The conditions did something to the outcome. What did they do? They affected it.
The rain had a devastating effect on the pitcher’s ability to control the baseball game. In this case, effect is a noun. The rain had something. What did it have? It had an effect on the pitcher’s ability to control the game.
There are some cases in which effect is also used as a verb, rather than as a noun. When effect is used as a verb, it means to bring about or introduce something. Consider the following example: The general manager effected change in the momentum of the game by swapping out pitchers.
To differentiate between affect and effect when they’re both used as verbs, consider their object. Affect usually impacts or changes something tangible, whereas effect usually creates something or brings it into being.
If memorizing functions and definitions isn’t quite your style, try a mnemonic device to help you with the beginning letters such as, “The arrow affected the aardvark; the effect was eye popping.”
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