Efficient vs. Effective

One of the Principles of Agile Manifesto is:

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face communication.

When I try to keep memorise these principles, it’s always the best way to understand the real meanings of each of them in practice before keeping them in mind. However, these two words, ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’, have confused me for a while. One reason is that they both represent the meaning of ‘with great effect’ in Chinese when I use most translation applications. So let’s grasp the distinction between them.

First of all, the definitions of them in Oxford English Dictionary are shown below.


achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.


successful in producing a desired or intended result.

We can see that ‘efficient’ is used to describe a kind of status of the process, while ‘effective’ focuses more on the result.

Then, based on it, these two words may be easily associated associate with ‘Doing the right things and doing the things right’ literally. In this manner, we can say ‘doing the right things’ is effectiveness and ‘doing the things right’ is efficiency. However, when you are doing the right thing, you cannot 100 per cent sure that you are doing it well. Also, when you are doing a thing well, it doesn’t mean that this thing is meaningful to you. There are some examples presented as following.

  • With his power, Mumen Rider could not transport all injured people to the hospital effectively, while organised rescue operations efficiently.
  • Genos can effectively defeat the monster with his trick, but he needs to spend a lot of time to accumulate energy to use the trick, which is not efficient.
  • Saitama has become too powerful as that he can defeat any monster in the most efficient and effective way – just with a single punch.

In addition, I also found the episode Effective – Efficient. They mean different things in English, which is very helpful to understand the meanings of ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’.

Common Communication Sentences in English




  • Hello.
  • Hi.
  • Good morning. / Good evening.

Greeting Questions

  • How are you?
  • How are you doing?
  • How are you feeling?
  • How are things going?
  • How have you been?
  • How is everything?
  • What’s up?
  • What are you up to? / What have you been up to?
  • How do you do?
  • How do you fare?
  • How are you getting on?
  • Are you well?

Showing own opinions

  • I reckon…
  • As far as I can tell,
  • As I see it,
  • I would say…
  • To me,
  • I feel that…
  • Personally speaking,
  • In my view,
  • To my mind,
  • As far as I’m concerned,
  • It seems to me that…


  • I owe you an apology for…
  • I take full responsibility for my action.
  • It was wrong of me.
  • It was thoughtless of me.
  • I sincerely apologise.
  • I hope you can forgive me.


  • Bye!
  • See you later. / See you soon.
  • See you. / See ya.
  • I’m heading off.
  • I’m going to make a move.
  • I must be going.
  • Take care.
  • It was nice to see you.
  • Stay in touch.

About my impression of English education in China

This was a serious question for me how to use ‘though’ or ‘then’ at the end of a sentence.

Cos all of my English teachers did not teach me about it before. You can see that at least in the period of my studying in China, the education system, the schools and the society did not pay more attention to improving students’ oral English skills. I can remember that before I attended my college, there was only one very odd method to do oral English practice, which was reading the English articles, together, in almost every morning. And the teachers always mainly focus on teaching English words, grammar and even the skills for answering questions of exams. Cos there is a very important exam series happens every year and the English exam only consists of listening, reading and writing, NO SPEAKING. Of course, every student would like to have a high score, so speaking? how cares. Even in my college academic life, every English exam has the same situations. Until I was preparing the IELTS exam, I found that it was so difficult for me to speak English. Maybe it was my fault, I did not study hard, while the English teaching style in China was definitely wrong, even if there are several reasons which lead to this result I could understand.

Anyway, now I can grasp that

though: however

then: therefore

when they are placed at the end of a sentence.

E.g. I really like living in Xiamen; there are so few opportunities to find a profitable job there though.