What is the difference between affected and effected? These two words are likely among the most easily confused in the English language. When do you use each one and how are they different?
Affected is the past tense form of the verb affect, which means to have an impact on something. If you have affected some change on a system, it means that you have been able to change the system at least a little bit.
- The election of the new president affected the country’s relationships with many different foreign countries and international organizations.
- That collapse of the housing market in the United States in 2008 affected the entire global economy and led to a worldwide economic downturn.
- The decisions that I made in college have not affected the rest of my life as much as I thought that they would at the time that I made them.
Effected is the past tense form of the verb effect. Effect can be used as a noun, but in the past tense form, it resembles the verb. To effect change means to execute, produce, or bring about change.
Using the verb effected instead of affected almost always means that you have changed something, such as a law, judicial ruling, a cultural norm, or something else. If you merely made an impact on something, you should use affected.
- The new emperor effected the changes that he had been talking about his whole life.
- Contrary to the expectations of most people, the television show that focused on political satire effected significant change in the country’s laws.
- In the period of a couple months right after a tragedy occurs, government leaders have effected a lot of change because people are emotional and are more willing to take measures to prevent something like that from happening again.
Tips for choosing between affected and effected
If something already exists, it is usually affected, or influenced by something else. If it does not yet exist, like a new system that needs to be put into place, it is usually effected, or implemented.
Have you mastered the differences between affected and effected? Try out your new understanding with the questions below! Fill in affected or effected in the blanks as appropriate.
- My decision to go to college near my parents _____ the decision of my boyfriend as well.
- He knew that he would be successful if he ______ changes in his morning routine, so he spent some time developing one.
- In the wake of the nuclear meltdown in Japan, several countries who had leaders that opposed nuclear energy ______ new laws making it harder to establish nuclear power plants.
- Don’t underestimate how much others value your opinion because the brands that you endorse have already ______ your fans.
- I was surprised to learn that the trip that I took to South America when I was in college ______ all the students in my student organization and made them want to travel there, too.
- In the past, the mood of the mother in the household ______ the moods of everyone else, but nowadays children are more able and freer to leave the house whenever they want.
- If there was a challenge to something, someone always ______ a solution to beat it.
- An episode of epilepsy or another neural disease may be ______ if the person who has the disease is exposed to flashing lights for a period of time.