Quick and Dirty Grammar: Affect versus Effect

So the affect/effect rule has a special place in my heart… When I was in middle school science, we were required to enter the science fair. I actually really enjoyed science and spent my free time coming up with theories about quantum physics and wormholes at the time…

Well for my science fair protect, I decided to measure the Magnetic force around the Earth and see how it changes based on time of day. I did my little measurements, fought with science and had my parents help me put together an awesome display board about if the time of day AFFECTED the Earth’s magnetosphere.

We turned in our projects and my teacher, Mr. Thomas, told me that it was if the time of day EFFECTED… and to fix that or he would count off points. In a panic, and doubting my own word choice, I changed the wording.  When the science fair judges came around, they were impressed and chatted with me for a while, eventually noting that my title was wrong and that it should be AFFECT. I was crushed and sobbed to my teacher what had happened. He shrugged and said he’d feel bad if I lost because of that.

I was runner up in my category. The only thing I had points off for was my misspelled title.

So much rage!

 

So, what can you take away from my story?

 

AFFECT is a verb

EFFECT is a noun

Use AFFECT when you’re trying to say that something did something.

Use EFFECT when you’re trying to say that the something was something.

 

 

And don’t take grammar advice from your science teachers.

 

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