IELTS, TOEFL and TOEIC Vocabulary: affect vs effect

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,093 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2016 in Vocabulary

Do you know the difference between affect and effect?

Students often make mistakes with these two words - because they sound similar and their spelling is also very similar.

Let's first consider affect...

Here's how to remember affect: affect = to influence

If I influence you, I also affect you.  So, we see that affect is a verb.  Consider these examples:

  1. My teacher's classes affected me = My teacher's classes influenced me.
  2. Dementia is a disease that often affects older people = Older people are influenced by dementia.
  3. I was deeply affected by the story = The story had an influence on me.

Now, what about effect?

Here's how to remember effect: effect = result or outcome.  In most cases, it is a noun.  Consider these examples:

  1. Lack of test preparation had a disastrous effect on her English test score = Lack of test preparation led to a disastrous outcome/result (i.e., a poor score).
  2. Test preparation had a positive effect on her English test score = Test preparation led to a positive result/outcome (i.e., a high score).
  3. The medication he took had no effect on his health = the outcome/result of the medication = no change in health.



Now, complete these sentences with the correct word.

1. The fall had a big ____ on my memory during high school.

A. affect
B. effect

2. The television ________________ how knowledge is passed on.

A. affects
B. effects

3. What ____ has the popularity of shopping centres had on your hometown?

A. affect
B. effect

4. The reduction in salary may ____ the living standards of people in the village.

A. affect
B. effect

5. The conversation  ____  me deeply.

A. affected
B. effected


1. The fall had a big effect on my memory during high school.
2. The television affects how knowledge is passed on.
3. What effect has the popularity of shopping centres had on your hometown?
4. The reduction in salary may affect the living standards of people in the village.
5. The conversation affected me deeply.


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