Today I am writing about the difference between the words that you can use in your essays to discuss the effects of an issue. A lot of IELTS candidates think that they can use the following words to replace the word ‘effect’ anywhere in their writing and in any given context:
consequence, repercussion, influence, impact, result, outcome
Although some of these words can be used instead of ‘effect’, others have specific meaning:
- ‘Consequence‘ means a typically unwelcome result and effect. So if it is used alone, it signifies a negative effect. You could of course add an adjective to signify a positive effect:
One of the consequences of… = One of the negative results of…
One of the positive/desirable consequences of… = One of positive results of
- ‘Repercussion‘ means an unintended consequence of an even or action, and is usually a negative one. So it can be used when discussing a negative outcome that was not originally expected to emerge:Many students think they can watch documentaries to improve their scientific knowledge but this could have serious repercussions for their academic performance. The time spent watching a documentary on television is usually much longer than what is needed to study the same subject in a book or online. Therefore, they may not have enough time left for the rest of their studies and assignments.
- ‘Influence‘ means the capacity and potential to have an effect. So, while you can use it to talk generally about effects, it cannot be used to talk about a specific impact:OK: The influence of television programmes on children is strong.
NOT OK: One of the influences of television programmes on children…