byTina Blue
August 11, 2000

Confusion between the words affect and effect is so common that I almost never see either of the words used correctly. Since I read anything that doesn't move fast enough to get away from me, and since I read hundreds of essays by college students each semester, I have reason to believe that this error is not just a misspelling, but an actual misapprehension of the two words and how they are used.

Generally speaking, affect is a verb and effect is a
. When you affect something, you produce an effect on it. Even in the passive voice, something would be
, not effected.

There are certain situations where effect is used as a verb and situations where affect is used as a noun, but very few people ever have a need to use them thus, so unless you are already confident of your ability to use these words correctly, just treat as general the rule that effect is a noun and affect a verb.