Reflex vs Reflect? When and When Not to Use in A Sentence


reflex vs reflect

You must have heard about a confusing pair of words in the English language. Well, if you are looking for one, you do not need to look too far beyond “reflex vs reflect.” When and when not to use in a sentence is sure to cross your mind next. So, here is what you need to know.

“Reflex” can either be a noun or an adjective in a sentence. It means an action that is done without conscious effort or something done instinctively. “Reflect” is a verb that relates to light bending back. It can also mean to think about something or something getting represented in a specific way.

However, there is more to be learned when it comes to the use of both words. We bet you are looking to dive in deeper. Well, we have got you covered. In this article, we will tell you what you need to know. 

reflex spelled in wooden titles purple background

When to and When Not to Use the Word “Reflex” in a Sentence 

First, we will let you know when to use the word “reflex” in a sentence. However, to do this, you will need to understand the meaning and nature of the word. This is because the use of a word stems from the meaning it conveys and, of course, its nature. 

So, what function does the word “reflex” perform in a sentence?

When it comes to the word “reflex,” it can perform two functions in a sentence. First, it can function as a noun and secondly as an adjective in a sentence.

Regarding the word “reflex,” functioning as a noun in a sentence, it works as a naming word. That is, it names an idea or a thought in a sentence. For instance, the word “football” is a noun, as it names a ball that people play with their leg. So, what does the word “reflex” mean when used as a noun? 

In this sense, it means something or action that people perform without any form of conscious effort or thought. It is usually in response to a stimulus, occurs in a split second and does not require you to decide on doing it. 

So, if this is what you intend to convey in a sentence, then this is when to use the word “reflex” in a sentence as a noun. Here are some examples that bring clarity to the use of the word.

  1. If there is one thing that Mary is extremely proud of, it is her extremely fast reflex that allows her to avoid a collision.
  2. We should all devote enough time to ensure our reflex’s development; it is sure to come in handy one day.
  3. I have quite the fast reflex; you will find me moving my whole body in a matter of seconds when the need arises.
  4. We are not allowed to mention it, but everyone here knows and agrees that Tyler’s reflex is extremely slow, especially during challenging situations.
  5. I think football players are one set of people who possess excellent reflex, which allows them to adapt to various situations.

On the other hand, the word “reflex” can also function as an adjective in a sentence. In this case, it functions to qualify or describe a noun in a sentence. Now, the next step is knowing what description the word “reflex” offers to a noun when used as an adjective in a sentence. 

When you use the word “reflex” as an adjective, it depicts that something is instinctive. That is, done without any form of conscious thoughts. So, you can use this word to qualify something as being instinctive. As such, you are in your right. Here are some examples that show the use of the word in a sentence.

  1. While most of us all agree that sneezing is more of a reflex act, I am sure that there is no lack of people who believe otherwise.
  2. There is a general belief among scholars that reflex responses are a product of changes in human blood pressure in the event of unpredicted circumstances.
  3. I bet you have never experienced a reflex spasm where your muscles act independently due to the circumstances.
  4. We should all consider studying more on the body’s reflex mechanism; it is an area of study that has not attracted the required attention.
  5. There are various reflex responses that science still finds quite hard to explain, even after years of increased medical breakthroughs.

reflect spelled on wood surface

When to and When Not to Use the Word “Reflect” in Sentence

Now that we have clarified the use of the word “reflex’ in a sentence, next we will dive into the use of the word “reflect.” As you would expect, we will dive into the function and meaning of the word “reflect” in a sentence. This way, you can have a robust understanding of when and when not to use the word. 

First, you must keep in mind that the word is a verb. In turn, it functions as an action word within a sentence. So, when you use the word, you have to use it to convey an action in a sentence. 

Now, the next question is, what action does the word “reflect” convey in a sentence? When you use the word “reflect,” it can convey multiple meanings. Typically, this meaning can either be figurative or literal. 

Generally, the word “reflect” is related to light. It involves light bending back from a surface after hitting it. For instance, you must have heard that heat reflects into space or that a mirror reflects light. Well, that is one way to use the word. So, if you are interested in conveying light reflecting off a surface, you can use the word. 

Next, the word can mean to think about something. For instance, when you reflect on an action of yours. In turn, you can use the word when you want to convey that you have given thought to something. Here are some examples of the use of this word. 

  1. You should reflect on his statements; you will find that they are loaded with deep thoughts while they sound unreasonable.
  2. While the project was a failure, I believe that if you were to reflect deeply on it, you can take on or two positives from it.
  3. I get that you want to feel good about yourself, but I feel that while you reflect on the issues, you try to find negatives so you can improve yourself.
  4. I reflect on every one of my actions every now and then, and it has led me to believe that is the best way to live today.
  5. You should reflect more on why things went wrong in your last relationship; you do not want to make the same mistake again.

Also, the word can convey representing something. This is the more popular use of the word. In fact, this usage is related to the first definition of the word that we identified above. As we stated, it means for light to bend back after hitting a surface. Here, it means for something to be presented. 

If you intend to convey that something is represented, you can use the word “reflect” in a sentence. However, you need to keep in mind that the representation can take different forms. For instance, it can provide a bad impression or to represent in the right manner, or just to represent plainly. 

Since we have cleared that up, here are some examples that should help you out :

  1. If you keep up this attitude, you can be sure that it will reflect poorly and negatively on your academic results.
  2. I want to organize a program that truly reflects the diversity that we claim in Australia; one that would be the talk of the globe.
  3. If you are passionate about a topic, you can be sure that your passion will reflect your work and entice your reader to explore your thoughts.
  4. There is no reason for your lifestyle outside our institution to reflect on your performance here; you just have to compartmentalize.
  5. You should get yourself a house and car that reflect your change in lifestyle 

Understanding the Difference Between Both Words

So far, we have explained when to and how to use both words in a sentence. One thing is clear; both words are different, and you can hardly use them interchangeably. However, the confusion is not far-fetched. You can trace this to the Latin origin of the word “reflex.”

This word is traceable to the word “reflectere,” which means bend back. In turn, this shares similarities with the word “reflection,” of which “reflect” is a source word. But that is hardly what you need to concern yourself about.

hand reflected in the water

Remember that if you are looking to convey the meaning of light bending backward, choose the word with “l” in it. In this case, that would be “reflect.” Then, to convey the meaning that an act is unconscious, use the word with “x,” which would be “reflex.” After all, “x” is sometimes used to categorize the unknown.

Final Thoughts 

English should be all fun for everyone. However, some words can cause the English language to be less fun. One of such situations is with “reflex” vs “reflect.” But that does not need to bother you anymore. We have discussed what you need to know in this article. So, read up and have fun.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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