‘Affect’ or ‘effect’? 6 simple memory tricks

Alliteration and mnemonic devices will help you remember the difference between these pesky words.

Let’s face it: Grammar rules aren’t always easy to remember. If there’s one that seems to be a universal stumbling block, it’s the difference between affect and effect.

Mignon Fogarty, also known as Grammar Girl, has come to our rescue. She explained the difference between these pesky words to communicators at Ragan’s Corporate Writers & Editors Conference in Chicago last fall.

Fogarty presented six simple memory tricks. We hope one of these will stick in your memory the next time you face an affect versus effect situation.

1. Affect is usually a verb; effect is usually a noun.

Fogarty was quick to explain that this is not a steadfast rule and that there are times when this statement doesn’t apply. But this trick works fairly often, and it can help you choose the right word most of the time.

2. “Arrows affected the aardvark.”

The alliteration in this sentence makes this trick easy to remember.

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