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The parson mug prize draw #7

Bye bye beautiful beaches, welcome to the city! Our mug explored one of the biggest cities in the world. 24 million people live here, and the name means city upon the sea. It also has the longest metro system (637 km). 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 ...

Office Pets. Part II: Blacky and Felix

This is the second (and last) part of our blog series about office pets. This time, we present Blacky and Felix, two brothers. They are six years old, curious, and always hungry. more ...

Check if or check that? Or: Have you tried turning if off and on again?

How often do we read or write that we should check something? Example: "Check if the computer is connected to power." Clear message, no misunderstanding. But what if it says: "Check that the computer is connected to power." more ...

Ten questions for Ines Lasch, intern at parson

Ines Lasch just finished her vocational training as a technical writer and is doing an eight-week internship at parson. We asked her ten questions. more ...

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

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