Vocabulary for CAT Verbal: Affect vs Effect

cat verbal affect vs effect

You need to have an excellent command of English to do well on CAT Verbal. One tricky aspect of CAT Verbal vocabulary is the difference between the words “affect” and “effect.”

“Affect” and “effect,” in common English usage, have the exact same pronunciation. But sound isn’t the only thing these words have in common. “Affect” and “effect” also have closely related meanings; both words deal with the influence that one thing has on something else.

The Grammar of Affect vs. Effect

The grammatical forms of these words are distinctly different. This difference is useful; it can really help you remember the difference in meaning between the two words as well.

  • Affect is a VERB.
    “Affect” is a verb that means “to influence or change something.” For example, you could say “The cold weather affected her health.”
  • Effect is a NOUN.
    “Effect” is a noun that refers to a noticeable way in which something has been changed or influenced. For instance, you might talk about “the different economic effects of the president’s new tax policy,” to refer to the way in which the new tax laws have changed or influenced the economy

Affect and Effect as Two Parts of a Puzzle

To make a clear mental distinction between “affect” and “effect,” think of these two words as two parts of the same big statement. If something has been affected, there must be an effect on that thing. In the examples above, if the cold weather affects someone’s health, then that person experiences effects on their health. And if a new tax policy has certain effects on the economy, you can also say that the policy affects the economy.

Here are a few more examples of pairs of “affect” and “effect” statements:

  • How much you study for the CAT has an effect on your score.
    CAT study time affects your score.
  • Changing a car’s oil regularly affects how the car performs.
    Specifically, regular oil changes have a good effect on automobile performance.
  • His sad emotional state affected her, and she began to feel sad too.
    His sadness had a strong effect on her, so that she too began to feel sad.

Practice exercise: Use “affect” and “effect” in the same sentence

On the CAT itself, it’s uncommon to see “affect” and “effect” in the same sentence. However, writing this kind of sentence is a great way to practice distinguishing between “affect” and “effect.”

See how many sentences you can write that contain both words. I’ve written a few examples to help you get started.

Example 1: The medication has side effects that affect patients in different ways.

Example 2: Special effects in movies have been affected by changes in computer technology.

Example 3: Pollution has many bad effects on the environment, and certain parts of the world are more environmentally affected than others.

Now, try doing several more on your own. This will help you master affect vs. effect on your CAT exam.

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