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Affect and effect

TL;DW: affect's a verb and effect's a noun. But there's a little more to it than that.

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Video transcript

- [David] Hello grammarians, today we're going to talk about two of my, well, I don't know if I'd call them favorite, but two of my most frequently confused words. I make this mistake all the time and I think it's important to keep it straight. Affect and effect are two very different words. What is the difference you might ask. Well, that's why I'm here. To sum it up, let's just put the TL, DR right at the top. Affect is a verb, just think of that as a verb. And effect, think of that as a noun. It's more complicated than that, obviously, but most of the time, when you're looking at these two words and you're trying to decide, oh which one do I use? Affect is a verb, effect is a noun. That's the too long, didn't read of this video, and who reads a video, but this is your key takeaway. Let me give you some examples. Let's take this sentence: the drought had a nasty blank on Angela's crops. Now, both of these words mean something happened, right? They both mean that there was a change, but effect with an E is the result of that change, and affect with an A, or affect, is the change agent if that makes sense. So, we're looking at this sentence: the drought had a nasty blank on Angela's crops. We know we need to use one of those. Well, we're signaling here by using the article a and the adjective nasty that we're looking for a noun. So, we'd wanna say: the drought had a nasty effect. Another way to think of this is effect with an E is the same way as saying result. Similarly, if we wanted to write this sentence again, but with affect, with a verb, we'd say: the drought affected Angela's crops. So, affect, we're using it as a verb, effect we're using it as a noun. And I'm exaggerating the pronunciation of those just to give you the distinction. Now, of course there are always obnoxious exceptions, let's cover them briefly, but just bear in mind that these are pretty rare. Number one: the word effect with an E as verb. When you see this as a verb it usually means to create. The way I usually see this is in the phrase effect change, which really means to bring about change. Effect here means to create. So, Kimiko hoped that the new mayor would effect change in her town. What we're saying here is really, make change. When we say effect as a verb that really just means to make. And the other obnoxious exception is affect as a noun, which is like a psychology term, it really means someone's personality. So, for example Percy had a smug affect. And that just means his personality is smug. Now, I wanna hit again that these are exceptions and they're pretty rare. I would caution avoiding them most of the time. I think your big takeaway is that affect is a verb and effect is a noun, and yes these exceptions exist but I think in the interest of clarity, you need to be very certain when you're using them. Because affect here as a noun is professional jargon, frankly, this is psychologist talk and that means it's a very particular kind of English, it's to be used in a specific context. Likewise, effect as a verb, frankly, I don't what you get out of this. I would just say make, frankly, I'm not sure it's worth the confusion. But that's just a style tip, obviously it's still grammatical to use it that way, you just have to be careful of confusion. So, what's the takeaway? Affect is a verb, effect is a noun, but there are exceptions. You can learn anything. David out.