April 2, 2021

Ralph's Word Usage Guide: Affect vs. Effect

— Affect vs. Effect —

The similarity between these two words affects even doctors, lawyers, and accountants, and the effect is effective. There is, however, a simple, effective rule for dealing with the two words. 

If your meaning is "influence" and you want a verb, then use the verb influence. If, on the other hand, your meaning is "influence" and you need a noun, use the noun influence.

Is that hard?

Likewise, if you are looking for a verb meaning "to bring about" or "to put into practice," then for the sake of Noah Webster, use to bring about or to put into practice, and stop wasting everybody’s time.

(As you can see, a little prudence in word choice can help one avoid many of the conflicts that editors and writers normally spend months developing ulcers over.)

Then again, if you are looking for an obscure noun used in psychology, and you do not know which of these two it is, it is sincerely hoped that you are not a doctor, in whose care people trust their lives and sanity.

ULCERS: Effecting the plan will have the effect of affecting everyone.

EASIER: Putting the plan into practice will have the influence of influencing everyone.

ULCERS: Effecting the effect, we saw that the effect of the effect was that the effective effect effectively affects all the affects, showing their effectiveness. That’s a fact, and an effective fact at that.

(C) 2021 by Targets in English. All rights reserved.

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