An effect is the impact or the result of something.

  • What was the effect of the decision?
  • What will be the effects of the election?
  • The effects of the recession were felt almost everywhere.
  • The medication is having no effect on her condition.
  • What are the side effects of this drug?
  • The storm will have a lasting effect on the east coast.
  • A curfew is in effect until order can be restored in the city. (in effect = in place; ordered by some authority)

The word "effective" is an adjective. It means that something works well, it’s successful, or something has been put into place.

  • He was an effective leader and everyone respected him
  • This was a very effective plan. It achieved our goals.
  • The solution to the problem is widely regarded as ineffective. Something else has to be done. (ineffective = not successful; having no effect)

Note: The words "effect" and "affect" are often confused, especially as they are spelled. Remember that the word "effect" is a noun, and the word "affect" is a verb.

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This page was first published on December 28, 2012. It was updated on October 5, 2015.