Affect vs Effect

"Changing the configuration can affect the performance of your computer." I always stop before affect. Isn’t it rather effect? The mistake is quickly made; the words are quite similar.

This is how it works:

The verb affect means to have an influence on something: to produce an effect or change. Therefore, my first sentence is correct. Also, look at the following examples:

  • The virus affected all the computers in the marketing department.
  • The disease only affects cattle.1
  • Poverty can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social background.2

Effect is a noun that refers to "the result of an influence."3 Merriam Webster defines it as "a change that results when something is done or happens: an event, condition, or state of affairs that is produced by a cause."4

Examples:

  • The marketing department felt the effect of the virus immediately.
  • Maybe it was the effect of the liquor?5
  • Any decision you make has a profound effect on everyone.6

It is never that simple, of course. There is also a verb effect, often used in more formal writing. It means "to achieve something to cause it to happen.”7

Example:

  • After the virus was deleted from the computers, the director effected new work instructions. (The effect was immediate. No new viruses affected the computers in the marketing department.)

Are you still with me?

Quick’n dirty: You can safely store the verb effect in the most remote corner of your memory. You will almost never need it. In most cases, affect is the verb and effect the noun.

What should we write about next time?

Sources:

1 http://en.pons.com/translate?q=affect&l=deen&in=&lf=de&cid=&srt=null

2 http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/affect#6CebJVrPJrkJyQ4b.99

3 http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/affect-or-effect

4 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effect

5 http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/effect#E5yWOPO1irdwMO43.99

6 http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/effect#E5yWOPO1irdwMO43.99

7 http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/effect

Blog

tcworld 2018: What's New with iiRDS?

iiRDS was one of the central topics at the tcworld conference 2018: at the new iiRDS Café, in lectures, showcases, and tutorials. There was also a discussion on Twitter, among other things about the name, which is so difficult to pronounce. more ...

tcworld 2018 part 3: Creative online videos for technical documentation

Clear the stage! At the beginning of his workshop "Creating thrilling online videos", Stephan Schneider showed two pictures. more ...

tcworld 2018 part 2: Virtual and actual highlights

The sun is shining brightly as I arrive for my first tekom. Inside, the conference is already in full swing. Two days of presentations, workshops, fair impressions and conversations await. more ...

tcworld 2018 part 1: Legal Requirements vs Readability

At this year's tcworld conference, there were a lot of discussions about standards and regulations for technical documentation. Experts such as Jens-Uwe Heuer-James and Torsten Gruchmann came together for a panel discussion where the following was repeatedly said: "We need an IEC 82079-1!" more ...

Working in self-organizing teams. Or: how we get rid of management

Today's world is VUCA : volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Companies are facing complex challenges such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. Those who do not respond fast, may be driven out of the market. more ...
  • linkedin
  • xing