This post is part of a series on grammar and vocabulary. From time to time, I will post short articles highlighting some of the common mistakes that people say during their presentations or write on their slides, and how to avoid them.
Today we look at the words “affect” and “effect”.
Each word can be either a noun or a verb. The basic definitions of each (there are others) are set out below:
- Affect (noun): the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion. It is rare to see “affect” as a noun and you will most likely never need to use it.
- Affect (verb): to have an emotional impact; to have an effect on; to pretend with an intent to deceive. For example, “The Prime Minister’s speech affected me deeply.”
- Effect (noun): impact; influence; something that follows something else (“cause and effect”). For example, “The Prime Minister’s speech had a profound effect on the audience.”
- Effect (verb): to bring about into being. For example, “It is important that we effect a change in policy.”
I agree with the advice in this article about when to use “affect” or “effect”.
A good rule of thumb is as follows: If you are using the word as a verb, it will most likely be “affect”; if you are using the word as a noun, it will most likely be “effect”.
Remember this tip and your slides will not be adversely affected.