According to Thesaurus, the words "quantify" and "assess" are synonyms. Is there, however, a difference in meaning between the two words in for example a sentence such as:

The [some effect] effect cannot be assessed by solely observing changes in X, since other effects may also influence changes in X.


The [some effect] effect cannot be quantified by solely observing changes in X, since other effects may also influence changes in X.

  • Thesaurus is not a dictionary. Please consult a good dictionary before asking a question like this.
    – TimR
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:02
  • To add onto what @TRomano said, the fundamental problem with thesauruses is that true synonyms rarely, if ever, exist. There will always be subtle differences between the meanings of words, even if they are listed as synonyms. That's why you need to consult a dictionary. Jan 16, 2017 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


There's overlap, but the words are fundamentally different in meaning. "Quantified" implies a numerical approach, where you're simply trying to gauge one or more particular qualities.

"Assessed" implies a more holistic approach; you're trying to observe X as a whole, rather than zoom into particular aspects.

EDIT: Look at the example for "quantify" on Google:

It's very hard to quantify the cost.

This example makes sense, because cost is a quantity. You can measure it directly and refer to it in terms of numbers. On the other hand, look at Google's sentence for "assess":

The committee must assess the relative importance of the issues.

Here you see a weighing of various qualities and quantities. It's the bigger picture. Note that from the second example, you see that "assess" can have a similar meaning to "quantify" when referring to money:

The damage was assessed at $5 billion.

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