When I googled this for some defined rules, it was the second top, just as I typed in ‘the difference between’. And it’s no wonder why, with these two dicky words causing English students more stress than if they were designing a meal for Gordon Ramsay.
So, what’s the difference?
Well, I’ll tell you the difference.
In general terms, ‘affect’ is used as a verb (‘to affect’ something) whilst ‘effect’ is used as a noun (‘an effect’ on something).
“But what if I can’t tell?” I hear you ask. Well, there’s two ways I can give to help you out:
- Read it aloud and see which bit fits better.
- Ask an English teacher.
Though if English teachers are in short supply, reading it aloud is good, too. Try it both ways – normally, that works well for me, though if that still doesn’t work…
Try adding another word in place of it.
Like, if you think it might be ‘affect’ but you’re not sure, add another verb in it’s place, and see if it works (obviously it won’t make much sense, but it’ll be enough to tell you if it’s right or not).
So yes, I hope that helped, as I know ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ are two biggies that need to be distinguished. Should I do others (eg which witch is which, they’re, their and there) or not?