Learning English

The Difference Between Affected And Effected

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: July 9, 2020
The Difference Between Affected And Effected

Effected and affected are the past participles (grammatical term for past forms) of the words effect and affect. Both words are commonly confused with each other and the confusion comes from not understanding their basic meanings. As the words sound so similar, it is perfectly understandable how they are interchanged much more than they should be. Although the meanings of both these words do overlap somewhat, effect is generally used as a noun, while affect is a verb. This oneHOWTO article is going to shed some light on the difference between affected and effected.

  1. What is Effect?
  2. What is Affect?
  3. Interchanging Positions
  4. Differences in Pronunciation
  5. The RAVEN Formula
  6. Use of Effected
  7. Use of Affected
  8. When You Should Use Affected and Effected?
  9. Substitutes To The Word Affected
  10. Exceptions
  11. Conclusion
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What is Effect?

First of all, let’s understand effect with the letter ‘e’. This is because this word more often gets used by default if someone doesn’t know whether to use effect or affect. According to the dictionary, effect is a noun and means a change that comes when something happens. It can refer to a condition or event produced due to a cause. In simple terms, effect is used as a noun to refer to a result of something. For instance:

  • If you smoke (cause), you can suffer from cancer (effect).

Think about side ‘effects’ that can take place if you take a particular medicine. For example:

  • The effect of cough syrup is relief from cough, but a side effect can be drowsiness.

Effect is used as a noun in this way. When this is done, it is usually accompanied by a qualifier or determiner word, such as an effect, the effect, any effect, some effect, desired effect, etc.

What is Affect?

People often tend to use affect as a substitute for effect, but this is incorrect. According to the dictionary, affect is a transitive verb which means to bring influence on something or to act on something in order to bring a response. For instance:

  • Rising crime rate will affect hiring of local policemen in the city as well.

Interchanging Positions

Although affect is almost always used as a verb and effect is almost always used as a noun, their positions can be interchanged in certain circumstances. Although the changing positions are not commonly used in everyday conversations, you need to be aware of this rule if you want to use the right word correctly. Although effect is difficult to be defined as a verb, it can be used to define both cause and the intended effect at the same time. For example:

  • The school is planning to effect a new uniform from next semester onward.
  • The government is unable to effect any change in the system.

Using affect as a noun is even rarer. As a noun, affect is often used in terms of psychology to refer to a feeling, emotion or mood resulting from an action. For example, 'the psychiatrist observed the patient’s affect closely.'

To summarize, something that exists already may be affected, but something that is effected needs to be brought into existence.

Differences in Pronunciation

Although both affected and effected sound the same to many people, there is a slight difference in the way they are pronounced. Effect is pronounced like ih-fekt, with an i-sound in the beginning. On the other hand, affect is pronounced as uh-fekt, with an a-like sound in the beginning.

The RAVEN Formula

When you are confused about using affected and effected, think about a raven. The word ‘raven’ contains the letter A,V,E and N, which stand for affect- Verb, effect-Noun. So, you can easily use this formula to use affect as a verb and effect as a noun. By fixing the picture of a raven in your mind, you should always remember the right way to use both words.

Use of Effected

Effected means produced, brought about or executed, with an aim to cause an event to take place. Sometimes, effected is used as a verb, though this is not a use. When this word is used as a verb, it usually refers to the act of causing an event to take place. For example:

  • His wink effected a change in my opinion about him.

Use of Affected

Affected refers to an action that make an impact upon something or someone. Affected is correctly used in English language as a verb. For instance:

  • His wink affected my opinion about him.

Sometimes, affect is also used to display an emotional response or other types of response. E.g.

  • My mom showed a strange affect when he winked at me.

When You Should Use Affected and Effected?

Verb is an action and actions have to start with A (when using affected or effected). If your word describes an action, then it should have the word ‘affect’ that has an A letter. Since affect is a verb, you can add -ed at the end of it and make its past tense form. But you cannot do this with a noun.

You can put an article, like the, a or an, in front of a noun, which you cannot do with a verb. When you say ‘it had an eye-popping effect’, the word effect has an article ‘an’ before it and thus it is used as a noun. Sometimes, you may also write an adjective in between the noun and the article, such as ‘an amazing effect’.

Substitutes To The Word Affected

Use of affected as a verb is vague, and if you are confused whether to use effected or affected, you can use the word ‘Impacted’ instead. In addition to that, there are other specific verbs too that you can use instead of affected. For instance:

  • Weather affected my holiday trip.

In this sentence, you can’t explain how it affected your holiday trip. Did weather make it more enjoyable or did it ruin it? In that case, you can use the word ‘ruined’ in order to specify that the weather actually ruined your holiday trip. By using this verb instead of affected, you can specify that the weather actually changed your holiday trip in a bad way.


In certain cases, affect may be used as a noun, especially if you are talking in a psychological sense. It can refer to a mood or emotion that a person appears to be showing. It's especially important about whom it is describing. For instance:

  • He displayed an angry affect at my wink.

It means that he appeared angry, but I’m not sure whether he was really angry or not. It is a term more commonly useful for psychologists, since appearances are just assumptions. Effect may be used as a verb too, which essentially means ‘to accomplish’. For instance

  • The local council effected many improvements in the village.

You need to understand the word ‘effective’ as well, which means something that has effect, or that affects something. For instance:

  • This medicine is very effective in curing cough and cold within minutes.


Most of the time, the word ‘affected’ is used as a verb. It means to influence someone or something. Making a choice between two similar words is challenging, and affected and effected are commonly confused with each other. The difference between affected and effected is vague, and people often tend to use impact instead of these words. But you don’t need to do this.

This oneHOWTO article has made clear the meanings of both these words, so that you can use them correctly in appropriate places. However, you need to understand the exceptions also, so that you can make a clearer choice. This way you can feel more comfortable using both the words, confident you will be grammatically correct.

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The Difference Between Affected And Effected