Cause vs Factor
Cause and Factor are two terms that are often understood in the same sense. Actually they are not interchangeable. They show important differences between them.
A cause is the agent that is responsible in producing an effect. On the other hand a factor is an agent that is affecting an object, a procedure or a process. The presence of chlorophyll in the leaves is a factor that brings about the process called photosynthesis in the plants.
On the other hand malaria is caused by the bite of the female anopheles mosquito. Here the cause is the bite of the female anopheles mosquito. The effect is the disease called malaria. Hence the mosquito can be termed as the agent otherwise called as the cause. This is one of the main differences between the two terms cause and factor.
There are three kinds of causes, namely, inherent cause, material cause and instrumental cause. Let us take for example the case of the creation of a pot. We all know that a pot is created by a potter by making use of mud which is worked upon the potter’s wheel. Here mud is called the inherent cause. The potter’s wheel is called the material cause. The potter is the instrumental cause in the creation of a pot.
The term ‘factor’ is often heard in the case of scientific experiments and scientific laws. We often hear and read headers such as ‘factors affecting enzyme activity’, ‘factors affecting cost management’, ‘factors affecting global warming’, ‘factors affecting climate’ and the like. You would have observed that factors are considered mere agents affecting a process or a phenomenon.
A cause is defined as a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result. In short it can be called as the producer of an effect. Observe the sentences given below:
1. What do you think is the cause of the calamity?
2. She has been the cause of his sorrow.
In the sentences given above you may understand that the word cause is simply the producer of an effect.
On the other hand the word factor has different meanings when used in different subjects such as commerce, science, mathematics, statistics, technology, computer science, information technology, television, people and organizations. Thus the word ‘factor’ is used as a multi-purpose word with different connotations in different subjects. Hence both the words, namely, ‘cause’ and ‘factor’ should be used with precision.