General Question

weeveeship's avatar

Affect change or effect change?

Asked by weeveeship (4363 points ) January 4th, 2011

Would ‘affect change’ or ‘effect change’ be a better fit for the blank space in the following sentence?

I wanted to become a judge so that I could ______ through the judicial process.

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25 Answers

Not_the_CIA's avatar

affect 1 |əˈfekt|
verb [ trans. ]
have an effect on; make a difference to : the dampness began to affect my health | [with clause ] your attitude will affect how successful you are.
• touch the feelings of (someone); move emotionally : [as adj. ] ( affecting) a highly affecting account of her experiences in prison. See note at moving .
• (of an illness) attack or infect : people who are affected by AIDS.

I always screw these up too.

weeveeship's avatar

So, is it affect or effect?

koanhead's avatar

If you want to have an effect on change that exists, you want to “affect change”.
If you want to cause change, you want to “effect change”.

Jeruba's avatar

To effect change is to bring it about (cause it to occur). So that’s what belongs in the space.

How could you affect change, @koanhead? Change is not a thing that has existence. Change is a process, an action. We don’t speak of influencing change (although we might speak of influencing the process of change). That’s what you’d be saying if you said “affect change.”

weeveeship's avatar

Thanks! I think effect was what I was looking for.

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koanhead's avatar

@Jeruba I meant that one could affect a change that was already in progress- one which was already in progress to effect by others.

filmfann's avatar

Don’t argue with @Jeruba!
Just think Cause and Effect (are the same thing)

janbb's avatar

Effect is used with a direct object; affect with an indirect one. That is one of the rules that helps me. Both can be used as verbs or nouns and they are slippery little words.

submariner's avatar

@janbb Sorry, that’s incorrect. “X affects Y”; fill in X and Y with any noun (or noun phrase) you like. X is the subject, Y is the direct object. E.g., “Confidence affects performance.”

janbb's avatar

@submariner Damn you’re right. I thought that might be too simple.

sandy101's avatar

It should be “affect change”, as the verb affect means to influence, where as effect refers to an outcome.

janbb's avatar

@sandy101 But I think if you mean to cause change than “effect” would be the right term.

submariner's avatar

@sandy101 See Jeruba’s posts, above. When effect is used as a noun, it refers to an outcome. When effect is used as a verb, it is a synonym of cause used as a verb (which has caused/effected endless confusion).

Effect is what the OP should use in the given context.

sandy101's avatar

Thanks, I stand corrected @submariner :)

Jeruba's avatar

Sorry, @perspicacious, but it’s not.

anartist's avatar

If you effect change [make changes, active], you will affect the status quo

laura420's avatar

affect. final answer.

Jeruba's avatar

Sorry, @laura420, but it’s not.

Check the dictionary, folks.

laura420's avatar

One affects / one HAS an effect
Dictionary gives definitions, not gramatical correction.
No need to apologize.

Jeruba's avatar

One affects = one has an influence (effect) upon.

One effects = one causes or brings about. That’s the meaning that fits the original question. This is a matter of definitions, not grammar.

Don’t worry, I’m not apologizing.

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