Word Confusion: Affective versus Effective

Posted January 11, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Feelings, nothing more than feelings… [by Morris Albert] are what affective is all about. If you’re feelin’ it, you’re being affected by it.

Now, I love feeling as much as the next person, and I adore being effective. A word that essentially means accomplishing.

So let’s go out there and be affective in being effective!

You may also want to explore the post on ” Affect versus Effect“.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Affective versus Effective” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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Affective Effective
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: affective and effectives

A colorful cartoon laying out the symptoms of SAD

“Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD) by Osmosis is under the CC BY 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons


“Nos 59,61 on Dunster Street, Westcotes, Leicester, A Wakerley House, 1920s” is RobinLeicester’s own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wakerley design for these semi-detached houses was nationally acclaimed for its effective design and low cost, and was used by councils in Glasgow, Belfast and Welwyn Garden City.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adjective; Noun
Plural for noun: effectives
[Psychology] Relating to moods, feelings, and attitudes

Of, caused by, or expressing emotion or feeling

  • Emotional
  • Influenced by or resulting from the emotions, as of a psychological disorder

Causing emotion or feeling

[Medicine] Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions

Successful in producing a desired or intended result

  • [Especially of a law or policy] Operative

[Attrib.] Fulfilling a specified function in fact, though not formally acknowledged as such

  • Assessed according to actual rather than face value
  • Impressive
  • Producing a deep or vivid impression
  • Striking

Adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result

Prepared and available for service, especially military service

A soldier fit and available for service

The effective total of a military force

Affective disorders are a set of psychiatric diseases, also called mood disorders, the main types of which are depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder.

“Instead, it turned out to be richly perceptual and affective.”, Blake Gopnik, “A Silence Worth 1,000 Pictures”, The Daily Beast, 20 September 2013

“The repetitive nature of his work is both effective and affective, especially in an exhibition of this scale.”, Alice Cavanagh, “Keith Haring’s Public, Political Art at Paris’s Musée D’Art Moderne“, The Daily Beast, 19 April 2013

“These feelings are the affective basis of the idea of nationalism.”, G.E. Partridge, The Psychology of Nations: A Contribution to the Philosophy of History

There are a number of effective solutions to environmental problems.

The agreements will be effective from November.

The region did not come under effective Dutch control until 1904.

The law becomes effective at midnight.

The corporation has an effective price of $176 million.

Wow. That was an effective finale.

We need more effective teaching methods.

How can we ever take effective steps toward peace when they’re involved?

We have an effective fighting force.

How many effectives can we field?

Adjective: affectless, nonaffective
Adverb: affectively
Noun: affect, affectivity, affectlessness
Verb, transitive: affect
Adverb: effectively
Noun: effectivity, effectiveness
Verb, transitive: effect
History of the Word:
Late Middle English via the French from late Latin affectivus, which is from afficere meaning work on, influence, from ad- (at, to) + facere (do).

The original sense was like, love, hence (like to) use, assume, etc..

Late Middle English from the Latin effectivus, which is from efficere meaning accomplish, which is from ex- (out, thoroughly) + facere (do, make).

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Teaching with Emotion: A Halloween Story by woodleywonderworks is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

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