Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Affective and Effective

english wordsAffective vs Effective

Whenever we write compositions or papers, as part of our assignments in school, one of the things that we are graded upon is our choice of words. Not only should the words we choose be right for the written assignment, but the words should also be used correctly. The words affective and effective are two words that have often been used incorrectly. Although they do sound almost the same, and are very close in spelling, save for the starting letter of each word, these two words depict two distinct meanings that are as different as oil and water. This is a guide that will help you understand the difference between these two words, to make sure that you are able to use these two words correctly in your next school paper.

The root word of the term ‘affective’ is the word ‘affect’. This word is commonly used as a verb, which means ‘to influence or to act in a certain way’. As such, to affect something means to influence or alter the mental state of a certain individual, in order for them to feel or act in a certain way. To be considered as an affective individual, means that you are able to influence another person, or a group of people, in order for them to feel, think or act in the manner that you would want them to act. Being affective is, therefore, one of the most important characteristics that sales people and marketers should possess.

On the other hand, the term ‘effective’ comes from the root word ‘effect’. In contrast to the word affect, the word effect is used both as a noun and verb. As a noun, the word effect generally means ‘the result of something’. For something to be an effect, something else should have happened first.

The word ‘effective’ derives its meaning from the word effect when it is used as a verb. As a verb, the word effect means ‘the ability to produce a desired result’. This meaning is where much of the confusion comes from, when using the words affective and effective. Even here there is a difference. Being an affective person means that you have the ability to influence another person’s feelings, and way of thinking, for them to act and feel a certain way. On the other hand, an effective person entails being able to produce results, without first influencing another person’s emotions, in order to produce the desired result. Therefore, you can be an affective speaker and an effective computer programmer.


1. Affective and effective are words that generally refer to the ability to produce results.

2. Affective comes from the root word affect, which is commonly used as a verb. On the other hand, the word effective comes from the root word effect, which is used both as a noun and as a verb.

3. An affective person has the ability to influence a person, or a group of people, in the way they think, feel and act. An effective person has the ability to produce results without having the need to first influence another person.

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  1. Nicely written..sensible!

  2. This article is both affective and effective 🙂

  3. its very very very very interesting

  4. Thank you for taking the time to explain the difference. For some reason, however, I still not sure on the answer to my scenario.

    What word would you use, if your sentence, went like this:

    When did this policy go into__________?

    Would I use the word “effect”, or “affect”?

    Now, since the word “effect is used as both a noun & verb, would I use “effect”?

    Sorry if my ? seems so cryptic.

    I look forward to your response.

    A frazzled friend,

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