I was asked by a friend to explain the difference between "affect" and "effect" since she constantly confuses the two. I will attempt to clarify.
Affect and Effect can both be used as a noun or a verb, more often a verb for affect and as a noun for effect. They sound very similar and therefore are easily confused and used incorrectly in writing.
As a verb, it means to act on or produce a change. Also, to move or impress a feeling. It can also be used as a noun, but is very rarely used in that manner.
Examples of usage:
1. The speaker's words so affected the crowd, they were soon enraged. (verb)
2. The death of Kitty, the cat, affected the family to tears. (verb)
As a noun, it is a produced result or consequence. It can also mean being functional or operational. Or it can be a desired impression. As a verb, it is used as a method to bring about or make happen. Quite often it is used in an idiomatic phrase.
Examples of usage:
1. Exposure to the water had the effect of wrinkling his skin like a prune. (noun)
2. His protest had no effect. (noun)
3. The fancy clothes and cars were for effect only. (noun)
4. The new machines effected the change to digital accounting. (verb)
5. The plan is now in effect. OR The cauterization failed to take effect. (idiomatic)
Of course, to confuse matters just a tad bit more, consider the following sentence: The jailer passed him his personal effects. Suddenly, effects, the plural of effect, becomes personal belongings, goods, or property.
To help keep the words in proper usage, think of it in this manner. An affect can have an effect. An example: The wind's affect can cause a tornado-like effect.
I don't want to make an all-encompassing statement but it would seem — if it is a verb, most times it will be affect and if it is a noun then it will be effect that you use. Caveat: But not always.
That's the affect effect … or affectation. As defined, affectation is the effort to appear to have the quality not fully possessed or in actual possession thereof. One could call it a conspicuous effort to attract notice. An example: He had an affectation of wealth but didn't own the proverbial pot to piss in.
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~ COMMENTS ~
I once had someone explain this in much the same manner. I tend to think of it as "A" for action.
Sigh, this is one of my banes - these two words mess me up all the time - I say I get it right 75% of the time. Great examples - I like how you include them so I can say them out loud and compare them to my own sentences. Great post.
Make sure you take note of what Onisha said to help you in the future. I like the idea of word association to help clarify things. A of affect is for Action. I always got Port and Starboard messed up until I realized that Port was Left and both had 4 letters. Haven't screwed that up since.