Quick Summary

The English word root fect comes from a Latin verb meaning ‘make’ or ‘do.’ Some common English words that come from fect include infect, perfect, and defect. A way to perfectly remember fect is that something perfect is so well ‘done’ that it cannot be ‘made’ any better.

'Fect': Done to Perfection

The English word root fect means ‘make’ or ‘do.’

If something is perfect, is is thoroughly ‘done,’ or cannot be ‘made’ any better than it already is. Someone who is effective can get things ‘done,’ and might even do things perfectly.

The verb affect and the noun effect often give students and adults alike conniption fits. Let’s clear this up here and now. When you affect someone, you have ‘done’ something to her. An effect, on the other hand, is a result of something that has been ‘done.’ Thus, you could affect someone by something that you have ‘done,’ with the resulting effect being either positive or negative.

Remember the prefects in Harry Potter, the older students put in charge of Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw? A prefect is ‘made’ the head or put in charge of people. We might hope that such leaders wouldn’t have too many defects, or aspects that ‘make’ them filled with troublesome shortcomings.

When a disease infects you, it ‘makes’ its way into your body. So a disease can be infectious, but so too can enthusiasm. I hope an infection of enthusiasm rather than a disease ‘makes’ its way into you!

Ever eat a confection in a refectory? Huh? First of all, a confection is a dessert that is thoroughly ‘done’ so as to be as tasty and appealing as possible. A refectory is a large dining room at a college where hungry students are ‘made’ new again, that is, refreshed with lots of nourishing food. So, I’ll take a guess that you probably have had a confection in a refectory!

I hope that your mind now has been thoroughly infected with fect, having been ‘made’ perfectly aware of its effective power for learning English vocabulary!

  1. perfect: thoroughly ‘made’
  2. effective: able to get things ‘done’
  3. affect: ‘done’ towards
  4. effect: result ‘made’ by ‘doing’ something
  5. prefect: ‘made’ in charge, thus ‘made’ to rule before others
  6. defect: ‘done’ not quite right
  7. infected: ‘made’ inroads into your body
  8. confection: dessert thoroughly ‘done’
  9. refectory: place where you are ‘made’ new again


  • ineffectual

    Someone who is ineffectual at a task is useless or ineffective when attempting to do it.

  • affection

    Affection is a feeling of love, liking, or caring shown towards someone.

  • perfect

    Something that is perfect has no mistakes or problems at all—it is the very best it can be.

  • confection

    make into a confection

  • confectioner

    someone who makes candies and other sweets

  • defect

    desert (a cause, a country or an army), often in order to join the opposing cause, country, or army

  • defection

    withdrawing support or help despite allegiance or responsibility

  • defective

    having a defect

  • defector

    a person who abandons their duty (as on a military post)

  • disinfect

    destroy microorganisms or pathogens by cleansing

  • disinfectant

    preventing infection by inhibiting the growth or action of microorganisms

  • effectiveness

    power to be effective

  • effectual

    producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect

  • imperfect

    wanting in moral strength, courage, or will

  • ineffective

    not producing an intended effect

  • infection

    the pathological state resulting from the invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms

  • infectious

    caused by infection or capable of causing infection

  • perfected

    (of plans, ideas, etc.) perfectly formed

  • perfectionist

    a person who is displeased by anything that does not meet very high standards

  • pluperfect

    more than perfect

  • refection

    a light meal or repast

  • refectory

    a communal dining-hall (usually in a monastery)

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.