Inspirational Mondays – Demystifying Grammar: Effect or Affect

I have decided to start a weekly blog post here on my editing blog called Inspirational Mondays specifically to inspire writers because, after all, editors need writers to keep writing. Otherwise, what would we have to edit? I chose Mondays in particular because it seems we could all use a little inspirational pick-me-up on Monday.

This week’s Inspirational Mondays inspirational quote:

Try to leave out the parts that people tend to skip. – Elmore Leonard

Demystifying Grammar

Starting this week, I will be doing a series on commonly confused grammar rules called Demystifying Grammar. Wouldn’t it be great if we understood those confusing and fickle little rules so we could focus on writing? I think so too. It has been said that the English language is one of the hardest to learn, so don’t worry if you need a little help now and then. Welcome to the first week of Demystifying Grammar. Those of you who slept through English class pay attention.


Effect or Affect

How do I know when to use effect and when to use affect?

This one can be very confusing, and I still have to think about it sometimes. But here’s the short answer: effect is a noun while affect is a verb in the vast majority of cases.

  • Effect (noun) – Something (A) has an effect on something else (B).

The beautiful weather had a positive effect on my mood.

In this sentence, the weather (A) has an effect on my mood (B).

  • Affect (verb) – Something (A) affects something else (B).

All the distractions negatively affected my ability to write.

In this sentence, the distractions (A) directly influence the ability to write (B).

The bottom line: when in doubt, assume that effect is a noun and affect is a verb, then use accordingly.


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