6

Do we say something for affect or effect?

For instance, if I give the description of a round ball, it seems that the word round is redundant; however, I have chosen to combine those words "for affect/effect"?

In researching this, all I could find is the usual definitions of affect and effect: affect is a verb and effect is a noun; however, in with my understanding of English, it seems that they can be used interchangeably in the aforementioned phrase?

5

No, they are not interchangeable. Here, for takes a noun, not a verb (bare infinitive). So your choices are the nouns affect and effect. Affect (noun) is uncommon (in everyday use). It seems to be a psychological term given. The dictionary gives

affect
1. the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes; also : a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion <… patients … showed perfectly normal reactions and affects … — Oliver Sacks>

This doesn't match the desired meaning. The answer is effect (noun):

effect
7. b : the creation of a desired impression <her tears were purely for effect>

So in your example, you want to say round ball for the creation of a desired impression, whatever that may be.

  • 1
    "Affect" as a noun was imported into English from the German noun "Affekt", meaning "feeling" or "emotion". There are occasional uses in English well before psychology became a science. In German, it was already used as a technical term to describe the interpretation and performance of music by 1750, and probably earlier. It occasionally appears in English writing about music from the same date. – alephzero Jan 23 '17 at 5:45
4

There is indeed a noun affect, which I didn't find out until I got to college and did some study of the psychology of music. The noun affect means "an expressed or observed emotional response."

While either noun could be used correctly, I would use effect. The term for effect is idiomatic and generally understood, and the use of affect as a noun is very rare, generally limited to textbooks on psychology.

Here are the different meanings of affect and effect:

Effect as a noun: something that is produced as a result or a consequence of something else. The loud noise had an effect on my hearing.

Effect as a verb: to cause to happen. By climbing down a tree by the window, I effected my escape from the burning house.

Affect as a verb: to have an effect on something. The loud noise affected my hearing.

Affect as a noun: already explained above. "Emotion or affect is aroused when a tendency to respond is arrested or inhibited." (Leonard B. Meyer, Emotion and Meaning in Music, University of Chicago Press, 1956.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.