Affect vs. effect?

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Guest:
Which is correct--

We are working to effect change,

or

We are working to affect change???

I mean to say to bring about or cause or produce change.
Approved answer (verified by )
Hello, Guest!

affect:
(noun) the conscious subjective aspect of feeling or emotion
(verb) act physically on; have an effect upon
(verb) have an effect upon; "Will the new rules affect me?"
(verb) make believe; "He feigned that he was ill"; "He shammed a headache"
(verb) have an emotional or cognitive impact upon; "This child impressed me as unusually mature"; "This behavior struck me as odd"
(verb) connect closely and often incriminatingly; "This new ruling affects your business"

effect:
(noun) an outward appearance; "he made a good impression"; "I wanted to create an impression of success"; "she retained that bold effect in her reproductions of the original painting"
(noun) (of a law) having legal validity; "the law is still in effect"
(noun) an impression (especially one that is artificial or contrived); "he just did it for effect"
(noun) the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
(noun) a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon; "the magnetic effect was greater when the rod was lengthwise"; "his decision had depressing consequences for business"; "he acted very wise after the event"
(noun) a symptom caused by an illness or a drug; "the effects of sleep loss"; "the effect of the anesthetic"
(verb) cause to happen or occur; "The scientists set up a shockwave"
(verb) act so as to bring about; "effect a change"

It looks as if what you're looking for is "effect a change"
Yet I wonder whether it shouldn't be "we are working on effecting the change"...
Anyway you'll need the definite article before "change", for I guess you've already defined that change.
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Approved answer (verified by )
Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's like this: "affect" is a verb; "effect" is a noun.

Exception: When the verb means "cause", it's "to effect".

Result: The correct version is "We are working to effect change".

CJ
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ALL REPLIES
Anonymous:
surely you could also 'affect change' which would mean 'to produce an effect in change' ie. changing the course of change?
Anonymoussurely you could also 'affect change' which would mean 'to produce an effect in change' ie. changing the course of change?
Yes, you could do that, but how often does a person really need to express such an abstract and complex thought?

And if you did, it would probably be clearer to phrase it differently, in my opinion, saying that something was affecting the course or direction of change.
CJ
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Anonymous:
ok, makes sense - thanks!
CalifJimNinety-nine percent of the time, it's like this: "affect" is a verb; "effect" is a noun.

Exception: When the verb means "cause", it's "to effect".

Result: The correct version is "We are working to effect change".

CJ
Does that mean all of these are incorrect?

Thanks to people like Bill Drayton (Ashoka) there are now more ways for people to affect change than just counting on others to take care of it for them.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-brown/paying-to-save-the-world_b_80547.html

We don’t generally have the power to affect change. But we got that here in Los Angeles.

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/apr/07/local/me-36857


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,77538,00.html

We are dealing with two leaders, Sharon and Arafat, who are locked in their respective positions, and an American leader, the only conceivable person who can affect change, who does not want to truly get involved

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jun/25/usa.israel1
New Member47
All of those should be "effect," in my opinion.
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DitchDoes that mean all of these are incorrect?

... for people to affect change than just counting on others ...
We don’t generally have the power to affect change. ...

As a Fox Fan, ... and affect change at FNC.

... the only conceivable person who can affect change, ...
Yes, that's exactly what it means, especially if the writers meant "bring about change", which I believe they did in every one of these four cases. Emotion: surprise

CJ
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