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Learning English Grammar | confusing nouns | effect, influence, impact



English grammar | confusing nouns

Changes to the exam format could have a serious influence on candidates. [incorrect]
Changes to the exam format could have a serious effect on candidates. [correct]

It is difficult to assess the impact of the disaster on tourism.
It is difficult to assess the extent of the disaster on tourism.



An influence is something which causes people to think or behave in a different way:
We need to learn more about the influence of violent computer games on young people.
Our experiences have a huge influence on our personality.

An effect is what happens to someone or something as a result of something else:
Research has shown the harmful effects of stress on mothers and unborn babies.
The new resort has had a beneficial effect on local businesses. [not effect to]

* Remember, effect is a noun. The verb form is affect:
Homes on the west coast were seriously affected by the hurricane.

An impact is a powerful effect of something, especially something new, on a person or situation:
We need to look at the environmental impact of the new dam.
Recent advances have had a massive impact on the personal computer industry.

The word consequences is also used to talk about the results, often bad, of an action:
Children need to be taught about the consequences of doing wrong.
He believes that the 24-7 society has negative consequences for family life.

See more common English grammar mistakes

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