Real Estate Marketing Grammar and Word Choices: Effect vs Affect

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Affect vs. Effect

When one of my Active Rain friends asked me to write about the difference between affect and effect I had no idea that it is one of the most asked questions on the "Grammar Girl" website. But … she says it is. 

Part of the problem may be that there are exceptions to the rules, but in most instances, here is the rule:

Affect is a verb.

Effect is a noun.

How will rising interest rates affect the real estate market? (Interest rates affect… a verb.)

They could have a profound effect, if they rise dramatically. (Interest rates have an effect …a noun.)

A change in the weather may affect turnout at the open house this week-end. (Weather may affect ...a verb.)

Did the rain have an effect on turnout at the open house? (Did rain have an effect...a noun.)


Think of affect as being similar to "influence."

How will rising interest arates influence the real estate market? 

Think of effect as being similar to "impact."

Interest rates could have a profound impact on the real estate market.


If you're interested in the exceptions, follow the link above to visit Grammar Girl. Like me, she likes to offer "mind tricks" to help people remember the rules. I couldn't think of one in this instance, but Grammar Girl has a sentence about an aardvark that might help. 

Comments (35)

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte,

I came over from Kathy's post this morning on one of her "Ah-ha" moments. Your post is a great pick. I see these two words misused all the time..just like advice and advise!

Oct 12, 2013 10:55 PM
Janis Borgueta
Newburgh, NY
Retired RE Salesperson

Oh those grammar rules. Since I started blogging I must say that my grammar has improved along with my spelling.

Oct 12, 2013 11:19 PM
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

So glad that you clarified this for us-I always had proper grammar but I must admit that you have made sure nothing slips by me undetected!!!

Oct 12, 2013 11:21 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I saw you on Kathy's post...had to stop over and I can see why she included you in her post..thanks!

Oct 13, 2013 12:00 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I don't know why but learning this lesson was so hard many years ago.  My english teacher was constantly nailing me for getting it wrong.  Now I've got it right!

Oct 13, 2013 12:09 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy - Thank you! Now I'll go see who else you've picked this week. 

Gary - I do the same thing. If I'm not sure, I figure out a different way to write the sentence. 

Debbie - Yes, I don't know who "they" were, but they sure did create a confusing language. 

Dorie - Oh yes, there are plenty of these pairs that get confused. Advise and advice are like fingernails on the blackboard when used incorrectly. 

Janis - Practice makes perfect.

Joanna - A good number of my grammar posts are here because someone asked me to write about them. 

Kristin - I'm headed over there now.

Bryan - Back in English class you probably weren't all that interested. Now that you're blogging and your prospects and clients are reading your word, it matters! 

Oct 13, 2013 02:09 AM
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Marte, that is such a common mistake for so many.  I think your description will be a great help to many.

Oct 13, 2013 06:54 AM
Jay & Michelle Lieberman
Keller Williams World Class - Agoura Hills, CA
Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos

Love the english lesson.  It took me years to figure out the real difference between "to" and "too".

Oct 13, 2013 07:09 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy - This IS a tough one for a lot of people. 

Jay & Michelle - I've always thought too and to were easy, because too meant also and it also had an extra o. 

Oct 13, 2013 08:10 AM
Elise Harron
Dirt Road Real Estate - Kingman, AZ
Rural Vacant Land and Development Specialist

Thanks, Marte.  I had to look this up yesterday reading a post to see if I remembered it right or not. 

Oct 13, 2013 08:20 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Elise - I love how easy it is to look things up on the Internet - if you just know the right question to ask. 

Oct 13, 2013 09:52 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks Marte, this is also one that I generally get right via instinct, and then proceed to start second guessing.

Your well laid out rules will help to solidify this for the future.

Oct 13, 2013 04:12 PM
Lara O'Keefe
North Texas Home Finders - McKinney, TX

This makes so much sense! I have never heard this explained this way. Thank you :-)

Oct 14, 2013 03:15 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Bob - Dontcha' just hate it when you know you know, but then start second guessing yourself? 

Lara - You're welcome. That Grammar Girl is a goldmine of information. 

Oct 14, 2013 04:56 AM
John J. Woods
Big Dog Press, LLC - Winder, GA
Going where no man has gone before - wouldn't you?


   And yet, "affectation" is the noun.  There is no legitimate "effectation" that I've been able to find in any dictionary (maybe I haven't looked hard enough?).


Oct 14, 2013 07:50 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

I recently looked this up on good old Mirriam Websters because I can never remember.

Oct 14, 2013 09:37 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Marte, I have to stop and think but think I usually get it right. This post was very effective is getting your point across about using affect and effect.

Oct 14, 2013 10:39 AM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Marte, congrats on the explanation.  Sometimes this is very difficult to do... to explain clearly.      

Oct 14, 2013 11:07 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

These words trip me up all the time.  This will help me to remember the difference. Thanks.

Oct 14, 2013 11:36 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John - I believe that's one of the exceptions that makes this pair so confusing. 

Lyn - I go to Grammar Girl because she gives a more complete explanation and uses the words in sentences that make them make sense.

Debbie - Thank you ma'm. 

Sandy - I cheat - if I can't figure out a way to explain it simply I leave it alone. 

Donna - Glad to help! 


Oct 14, 2013 12:33 PM