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Answered By: Suzanne Schriefer, Criminal Justice & Paralegal Librarian
Last Updated: May 10, 2016     Views: 99

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).

Reference:

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

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