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Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks. Within a few weeks, Writing Tips will no longer be available.

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

affect, effect

Affect and effect are easily confused. The guidelines below will help you to choose the right word.

Use affect if you mean

  • to influence
    • Budgetary constraints have seriously affected our grants and contributions.
  • to feign, to simulate
    • Jerome affected a British accent when recounting his travels abroad.
  • to move, to touch
    • The Smiths were deeply affected by the loss of their pet cockatoo.
  • to pretend
    • Jackie affected to despise science fiction, yet she was avidly reading all of Isaac Asimov’s robot novels.
  • to hinder; to hurt
    • How does low literacy affect the health of Canadians?

Use effect if you mean

  • to bring about
    • Can you effect those improvements by the end of the first quarter?
    • Jessie became involved in her community and effected many changes.
  • to carry out
    • We need the support of all stakeholders before we can effect health care reform.
  • an impact
    • The Supreme Court ruling will have a lasting effect on official languages services
  • an impression
    • The artist stood back to take in the overall effect of his painting.
  • an outcome; a result
    • The committee members hoped the measures would produce a positive effect.