Affective vs. Effective

Affective vs. Effective

Affective and effective are both adjectives that are formed from the words affect and effect. Thus, they are just as confusing! While these are some of the most misused words in the English language, their differences are easily explained, and once you understand, your communication with others will be much more effective.

Affective is an adjective that is derived from the use of affect as a noun. Remember that affect, when used as a noun, refers to the outward emotional appearance of a person. Therefore, affective refers to things that are influenced by emotion or that cause emotional responses. This term is mostly used in psychological jargon.

1. The child was diagnosed with an affective disorder after her behavior at school caused great concern for teachers and parents.

2. Each year, the high school students rate themselves on their affective health, as they complete a questionnaire that has to do with emotional well-being.

3. Some children respond well to affective interventions that target the emotions behind their behaviors.

Effective is a much more common adjective that is derived from the noun effect. It refers to something that has produced the right outcomes-the desired effect.

1. To be effective, the antibiotics must be taken for 10 days.

2. The ending of the movie was very effective, if the director wanted us to leave the theater in tears.

3. The teacher felt that the math test was particularly effective at helping her figure out where we still needed some help in understanding the material.

Effective is a much more commonly used word, as affective has a very specialized use.

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