Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of July 5, 1999
Access and Assess
The words access and assess could easily be confused in scientific writing. They sound almost the same and are spelled similarly, but they have different meanings. Access means the ablity or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use. Assess means to evaluate, to fix a value, or to impose a tax upon. Both are transitive verbs, in other words, they require an object. They can be made into adjectives--accessible and assessable. Access is also a noun, but assess is not (although assessment is).
A few examples:
The images allowed us to assess the severity of the problem.
The room at the top of the stairs is not accessible by wheelchair.
I just installed my computer. I don't yet have access to the Internet.
Although this phenomena is complex, it is assessable.
Try these yourself...
1) He gave me access to the lab.
2) Could you please assess this paper?
3) Your server is not accessible by my computer.
4) This technique should give us access to the problem. Then we can make an assessment of how well we understand the phenomena, and what experiments we should do next month.
What do psychologists say to each other when they meet?
"You're fine, how am I?"
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Created July 5, 1999, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.