Affect or effect

effectIf you search for the words affect and effect¬†on the web, you’ll find, generally speaking, that the advice to help you differentiate between the two words is to remember that the one beginning with ‘a’ is a verb that means to make a difference to and the one beginning with an ‘e’ is a noun that means the change that results. My teachers told me much the same thing.

So, I might say that this knowledge has affected my ability to distinguish between the two words so I don’t suffer the embarrassing effects of a mistake.

But, the word effect can also be a verb. The Oxford Dictionaries online gives the meaning as ‘to cause (something) to happen’ or ‘to bring about’. So, for example, I might say I have effected a new plan for 2012.

See the usage note here for more.