What’s the difference between “affect” and “effect” and when should they be used?

These two words are often confused as they look and sound very similar. However, there is a simple explanation to help you remember the difference. 

The simple rule
• Affect is a verb – “to affect” – meaning to influence or have an impact on something. 
• Effect is the noun – “an effect (a positive or a negative effect) is the result of being affected by something. 

There is also a verb “to effect”, which means to bring something about – “to effect a change”. However, this is not very commonly used. 

Examples of “affect” 
-Several of my colleagues have been directly affected by the re-organisation 
-High levels of stress can affect performance 
-The storm knocked down power lines, affecting thousands of people 

Examples of “effect” 
-My doctor said it would take a few hours for the medicine to take effect 
-Wet weather often has a bad effect on your mood. 
-We are still unsure what sort of effect the new regulations will have 

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