Affect vs. Effect : Which one should I use?

A common mistake that I’ve noticed a lot of writers doing lately is mixing up affect and effect. Here is a quick guide to using the two words correctly:

What do they mean?

Affect = Usually a verb meaning to produce a change in, or influence something
Effect = Usually a noun meaning the result or change that occurred

When should I use affect?

– As a verb when trying to describe influencing someone or something
– As a noun only when describing a facial expression

When should I use effect?

– when talking about a result
– if the following words are used right before the word “effect”: into, on, take, the, any, an, or and.
– to describe something that was caused

Some examples of using affect and effect correctly:

Screaming goats affect their sleeping neighbors.
Kristen Stewart had a flat affect throughout the Twilight saga.
What effect did the release of Beyonce’s new album have on fans?
The new Nick Jonas pictures had a positive effect on his female fans.
Making awkward puns has had a negative effect on my social standing.

Many words are easily confused like affect and effect (its, it’s, there, their, there, your, you’re). One tip for writing is to circle these words if you feel unsure about their usage. Look up the grammar guidelines or ask a trusted friend to check your usage!