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Effect vs. Affect

This is one of the most common errors people make, and I frequently come across people arguing about it. The explanations of how to use them properly are easy to find, but the conceptual difference between the two does not seem to stick in people’s mind. The confusion comes from the fact that “effect” can be used as a verb, although it’s rare. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be any confusion (i.e. “effect” = noun and “affect” = verb). To make it worse, “effect” used as a verb is pretty close in meaning to “affect”. And, if that’s not confusing enough, “affect” can also be used as a noun, and it’s also similar in meaning to “effect” as a noun.

So, the only way to get the hang of using them properly is to see actual examples. While I was arguing about this with a friend of mine, I came across this quiz that tests your ability to use “effect” and “affect” properly. I’m curious how well or badly everyone does on this quiz.

  • April 27, 2009
  • Posted by Dyske
  • Filed in Grammar

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I did better than I thought 9 our of 11. I need to bookmark this site as I have horrible grammar, punctuation, spelling and usage. :-)

madam.moonchild April 28, 2009, 1:17am

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Thanks for the quiz I got 10 right out of 11
This was new to me:
Use effect to mean bring about or cause.
thanks again

ruq_2002 April 28, 2009, 5:09pm

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Ten out of the 11. I would have gotten them all, but it seemed to me that there weren't enough "affects" and I was feeling sorry for them. So on #7, with impetuous kindness, I hit the lonely "affect" to see if it would effect my score. Yup, it did. Like your site very much, thanks.

shields April 30, 2009, 5:41pm

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I got an 11.

(Screenshot if you don't believe me. lol. )

brie May 1, 2009, 10:22pm

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Thanks for the quiz; it was fun!

I was a little surprised at your post, though; to me the two words are very different, whether in noun or verb form, and I don't seem to have trouble distinguishing them (the quiz was quite easy). Maybe I've just encountered "effect" as a verb (in business) and "affect" as a noun (my sister is a psychologist) often enough that all four meanings get reinforced.

wkiri May 2, 2009, 11:04pm

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I got 11 out of 11, so I guess my system works most of the time.

The action (affect) must always precede the results of that action (effect). A comes before E in the alphabet and that is the way I remember it.

It may be stupid, but it works.

mike.sullivan May 5, 2009, 4:33pm

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Loved your quiz, probably because I got 11/11.

As verbs, affect and effect are nothing alike.

Did you forget that affect is also a noun, just to add to the fun?

Ain't English grand?!

janlcc May 8, 2009, 5:51pm

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"This is one of the most common errors people make..."

Uhhh, that would be "One of the MORE common . . . " :-]

brian.wren.ctr May 14, 2009, 4:20pm

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Snippet from the page: Final Score: 11/11

brian.wren.ctr May 14, 2009, 4:28pm

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What's wrong with "most"? In fact, I never understood the difference.

Dyske May 14, 2009, 4:39pm

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Proper use of "most" requires the size of the set in which the subject is a member: "one of the 10 most."
Without a numeric qualifier, all but the last are potentially included in the set "one of the most."

That (unfortunately) makes it as meaningful as "up to 10... or more!"

brian.wren.ctr May 14, 2009, 5:18pm

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This deserves to be a post of its own. So, I'll create one.

Dyske May 14, 2009, 6:21pm

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got 9/11 right..

hate grammar, the rules are always changing and thats y its a weak subject for me...
in college taking courses in grammar now, so I'm always looking for new quizzes on different grammar topics for extra help...
I'm definally the one that needs it!
LOVE math, not grammar @ all

callieair September 10, 2009, 12:58pm

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11/11 without pausing or breaking a sweat. I'm not an expert on the language, but as an engineer, I internalize unambiguous rules and structures fairly easily. This is one of the few (don't get me started on "one of the only") cases where English seems easy for me.

John C March 8, 2011, 1:05pm

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