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?


2 Answers 2


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

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):

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
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 5:45

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.)

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