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Answered By: Suzanne Schriefer, Criminal Justice & Paralegal Librarian
Last Updated: May 10, 2016     Views: 92

The use of "affect" and "effect" can be challenging!  Perhaps an easy way to keep the use of these words straight is that "affect" is almost always a verb and "effect" is almost always a noun.  For instance:

Her inability to sleep the night before affected her ability to perform well on the exam.

The sound effects in the movie added suspence and drama.

Exceptions to this rule:

1. In the field of psychology, "affect" can be used as a noun as in "The patient displayed a happy affect" (Fogarty, 2008, p.11).

2.  When the meaning of the work "effect" means "to bring about," it can appear as a verb as in "The new President of the University hopes to effect change with the adoption of the new charter" (Fogarty, 2008).


Fogarty, M. (2008). Grammar Girl's quick and dirty tips for better writing." New York, NY: Henry Holt.

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