Words that cause confusion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2005, 12:00am

Do you know the difference between 'effect' and 'affect'?

Effect (n) - a change or consequence (of something)

It is used when you talk about a change that is caused by something.

Effect (v) - to make something happen

If you effect something, you succeed in causing something to happen.

Affect (v) - to cause a change in something or somebody

When something affects someone or something, it influences them to change in some way.

On its own, a 2 per cent revaluation against the dollar would indeed have been disappointing. Given the vast disparities in production costs between China and the US or Europe, the effect on trade flows would be minimal. But the People's Bank of China's announcement did not stop at a one-off, token devaluation.

Owners of the Eastern Harbour Tunnel made more money in May after its toll increase came into effect, even though traffic fell by an average of 22 per cent a day.

Studies have shown that a build-up of the appetite-suppressant in rats interferes with the ability of their brain cells to react to signals, especially those in the hippocampus, responsible for storing information. This has led researchers to hypothesise that leptin may have a negative effect on learning and memory in humans as well.

The key objective was to find out what makes Asian workers tick and, in particular, to determine more accurately which factors affect their motivation and commitment. By collecting and analysing relevant information, it has been possible to let employers know which issues to prioritise and how to drive further improvement in business results.

A group of Form Six students from Hong Kong and overseas recently took part in a summer camp to explore how the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and Pan-Pearl River Delta regional co-operation might affect our lives in the future.

Drivers tend to become de-sensitised to the smell of their own cars, so become less aware of how it might affect their mood and also the mood of any other person who drives it.


Fill in the blanks with the correct word: effect or affect.

1. The Iraqi war has seriously ______________ petrol prices.

2. The change of government has failed to ____________ any radical changes in the country's open-door policy.

3. Citizens want more control over policies that directly ___________ their lives.

4. Most people are aware of the harmful ________ of smoking.

5. Drought can ____________ the economy of a nation.

6. Liver toxicity is a major side ____________ of the new drug.

Answer: 1. affected 2. effect 3. affect 4. effects 5. affect 6. effect