I am really confused when efficient and effective appear in a sentence.
I get quite confused about the whole meaning of the sense it pulls of.
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Efficient refers to how well one uses one's resources (generally time) to work towards completing a task. Google defines it this way:
- (esp. of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. "fluorescent lamps are efficient at converting electricity into light"
- (of a person) working in a well-organized and competent way. "an efficient administrator"
Effective by contrast refers to the ability to have an effect. In other words, it focuses on whether you accomplish what you set out to accomplish. Google provides the following definitions:
- successful in producing a desired or intended result. "effective solutions to environmental problems"
- operative "the agreements will be effective from November"
Thus, you can be an efficient campaigner for a politician without being an effective campaigner -- because your efforts do not yield new votes. The former emphasizes that you are working as well as you or anyone could, but the latter asks whether or not you are seeing the desired result.