These four words can cause trouble even for native English speakers. To help you get things right, here are the differences between these commonly mixed-up words.
Affect vs. Effect
This means ‘to influence’. It’s most often used as verb.
For example: “Making friends with the wrong people at school can affect your grades.”
Meaning: “Making friends with the wrong people at school can influence your grades.”
This means ‘as a result of’.
For example: “The effect of Sam hanging out with the wrong crowd was not being accepted into college.”
Meaning: “ The result of Sam hanging out with the wrong crowd was not being accepted into college.”
Let’s use them both in one sentence as one last example:
“People can be affected (‘influenced’) easily by others, and when this happens the effect (‘result’) can be negative, like not being able to go to college.”
Accept vs. Except
This means to say ‘yes’ to, or to receive, or admit.
Example: I got accepted to the university I wanted!”
Meaning: “I got admitted to the university I wanted!”
This means that something is excluded, not included.
Example: “I don’t know anyone in my class except for you.”
Meaning: “I don’t know anyone in my class but you.”
Let’s use them both in a sentence as one last example:
“We all got accepted (‘admitted’) to the same school except (‘but’) Ashley.”
Alright, time for a test! Fill in ‘accept’, ‘except’, ‘affect’ and ‘effect’:
1) “I understand everything in this test _ for section 5. Can you help me?”
“Sure, but don’t expect me to do everything for you.”
“No, of course not. But if I get a bad score on this test it will _ my grade.”
2) “Did you _ my friend request on Facebook?”
“No, I haven’t yet. I will soon.”
“Thanks, I don’t know anyone in this city _ for you.”
3) “Do you know if the budget cut will _ our project?”
“No, but it’s likely to.”
“I know; I can’t believe nobody has mentioned anything yet. Do they _the problems it could cause? The _ could delay our deadline.”
Answers: 1) except, affect 2) accept, except 3) affect, accept, effects
So how did you do? Can you understand the differences yet? Bring your questions to your next class and you can talk about these four words some more. I hope to chat with you soon!