affect and influence

Discussion in 'English Only' started by quietdandelion, May 1, 2007.

  1. quietdandelion

    quietdandelion Banned

    I don't consider affect and influence to be synonymous. I can be affected by the weather without being influenced by it:
    I get wet in the rain - an effect (I am affected)
    I stay inside because it's raining - an influence (I am influenced)

    For me, affect and influence are no different, so the above reasoning by a friendly and helpful forero doesn't make much sense to me. Therefore, I'd like to listen to your comments. Thanks.
  2. WongFeiHung

    WongFeiHung Senior Member

    USA English
    Affect generally deals with feelings or emotions "His harsh words really affected me" -- means got to me emotionally
    Influence is like to compel somebody to some action "His harsh words really influenced me to shape up" -- take some sort of action
    (Although 'influence' can be used to describe emotional states - "under the influence")

    In the examples you gave, "I get wet in the rain" - that's a cause and effect. Cause = rain, effect = you get wet.
    In the second: you are influenced to take the action of to migrate inside. The raining impels you to seek shelter

    But with that being said, I'd consider them synonyms. In fact, in the dictionary "affect" is a synonym for "influence"
  3. quietdandelion

    quietdandelion Banned

    Thanks, FH.
  4. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    To affect is also (like your example with rain) usually used for physical things. Getting wet is a physical thing, and it is how you were affected by the rain.
  5. Nelli21

    Nelli21 Member

    talking about these two words, would it be right to say:
    Smoking has affected/influenced his health? or only affect is the correct option?

    Also, can I say: I was strongly affected/influenced by his words?
  6. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Smoking has affected his health. Only affect is the correct option.

    I was strongly affected/influenced by his words? Both are possible:

    I was strongly affected by his words = they changed my emotions.
    I was strongly influenced by his words = they changed my later actions.​

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