Sunday, December 5, 2010

to use an a or an e?

While writing a paper this weekend I came across a common problem: whether to choose affect or effect. Generally, I can choose the correct word and forge on, but this time the much-hated green squiggly line appeared under my chosen word and I was forced to rethink my option. So I researched the difference between the two words and thought I would share my findings:

  • affect is a verb meaning "to influence." It can be seen with various verb endings (-ing, -ed) and in various verb forms such as gerunds or participles.
EX: The shorter runway affected her performance.
  • effect is a noun meaning "a result." It will only be seen in the previous form or with "s" added to the end to make it plural.
EX: The effects of the experiment can be seen in published results.

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