Affect / Effect

Certain sets of words in the English language tend to confuse us writers. I have found the following to be among them:

AFFECT / EFFECT

As verbs, affect can mean to have influence on someone or something while effect means to bring about something:

We need to favorably affect the earth’s atmosphere by reducing our carbon footprint in order to effect a vital reduction in global warming.

Most often, however, the word effect is used as a noun:

Humanity’s carbon footprint is having a negative effect on the earth’s atmosphere. 

If this all seems a bit confusing, perhaps the safest way to go is to think of affect as a verb and effect as a noun and use some other word or phrase to mean to bring about.

 

© 2016 Ann Henry. All Rights Reserved.

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