Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Would you say it’s more important to be effective or efficient in the workplace?

This is a good question and it’s open for debate.

Today we’ll talk about how to use both “efficient” and “effective” in English?

We have a listener question.


Hi Lindsay and Mishelle!

Thank you very much for your feedback. The podcast Lie, Lay, Lain is absolutely brilliant. I’ve got one more question for you. Wouldn’t you mind to clarify the difference between the words effective and efficient, if any.

Thanks in advance,

Pavel Ageykin


Great question!

Similarities: both are adjectives, both are positive words


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According to the dictionary:

Effective: successful in producing a desired or intended result.

“Effective solutions to environmental problems”

(especially of a system or machine)


Efficient: 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.


Effective-successful in result

Efficient-lots of productivity, not too much effort or time


We can also use these words when we talk about a person:

He is an effective worker.

He is an efficient worker.


Another difference between the two words:

Effective can be a noun when we use the word “effect” (example: he has a positive effect on the office)



Affect – this is usually a verb, effect is usually a noun

Example: “His cheerful demeanor affects the mood of the whole office.”



What does your culture place more value on?

Is it more important to be effective or efficient?

What about your specific workplace culture?

Let us know in the comments below.

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