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‘Effective’ and ‘Efficient’

Posted by on July 3, 2011

In today’s lesson we discuss the differences between the expressions “효과적” and “효율적.” “효과” means “effect,” and if you remember that, you should have no problem remembering that “효과적인” means “effective.”

The word “효과” is often used in sentences like, “약이 효과 없어요? (The medicine had no effect?)” or “텔레비전 광고를 내면 몰론 대단한 홍보 효과를 얻을 수 있지만 너무나 비싼 방법이죠 (Of course a TV spot would have a great PR effect, but it’s just too expensive of a method).”
홍보 효과: PR effect
약효: A medicine’s effect

“효율적인” on the other hand, means “efficient,” and accordingly should be used to describe a process by which a greater effect can be achieved in a shorter amount of time etc.

A similar word is “능률적,” which also means “efficient,” but the first syllable, “능,” implies capability or skill, so the nuance is that the efficiency is born out of a certain proficiency.

Another thing to bear in mind is that unlike in English, where we use the word “efficient” to describe vehicles that get good gas mileage, Koreans rarely use the word “효율적” and instead use the expression, “연비 (fuel economy).” A vehicle then that has high fuel economy would be called, “연비가 높은 차,” while a gas guzzler would be called a “연비가 낮은 차.”

The pronunciation of “효율” is not especially easy, because of the two “y”-like sounds, but it is not exceptional. In the case of “효과,” however, the “ㄱ” is pronounced like “ㄲ” in spoken Korean. The official rules of Korean pronunciation state the contrary, but pronouncing the second syllable as a soft “ㄱ” will just ensure that no Korean understands what you are saying.

Here are some example sentences to help you on your way:

선배님, 효과적인 학습법을 추천해주실 수 없을까요?

약을 아무리 먹어도 효과가 없네. 병원에 가봐야 하나?

많은 사람들한테 단번에 새로운 정보를 알려주는 방법 중에서 뭐니뭐니해도 트위터가 제일 효율적인 것 같아요.

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