Afflict often refers to a person’s suffering or distress, whereas inflict usually applies to an action that is done on purpose and causes pain or discomfort. Understanding the nuances of affliction versus infliction can help you use these words more accurately when expressing your thoughts in written form.

Inflict Vs. Afflict – Key differences

“Inflict” is always used as a verb, whereas “afflict” can be either a verb or a noun. When used as a verb, “afflict” always takes an object, whereas “inflict” does not.

In addition, “inflict” always carries a negative connotation, while “afflict” can be either positive or negative. For example, you could say that someone inflicted a wound on you during battle, but you would never say that someone afflicted a wound on you (unless they were trying to heal it).

Finally, “afflict” can also be used to describe physical pain or suffering, whereas “inflict” is generally only used to describe emotional pain or suffering.

Examples of how to use each word correctly in a sentence

If you’re ever unsure of which word to use, remember that inflict is a verb meaning to cause something unpleasant on someone, while afflict is a verb meant to cause pain or suffering. To help you remember, think of the phrase “to inflict pain” when you need to use inflict.

Here are some examples of how to use each word correctly in a sentence:

(Keira Burton on

picture of a student bullying another student while another looks on.

“The bully inflicted numerous bruises on his victim before finally being pulled off by the teacher.”
“The poor child was afflicted with cancer, and no one knew how to help her.”

Let’s take a look at the definitions of each word:

Afflict: to cause suffering or distress to (someone)
Inflict: to cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by (someone).

Now that we know the definitions of each word, let’s look at some examples of how they can be used:

The mother was afflicted with cancer.
The father inflicted his anger on his children.
The poverty-stricken country was afflicted by war.

As you can see from the examples above, both words can be used to describe someone causing suffering or pain to another person. However, there is a subtle difference in meaning between the two words. Afflict suggests that the suffering is caused by an external force, whereas inflict suggests that the suffering is caused by someone’s actions.

Do you say afflicted by or with?

There is often confusion about whether to use afflicted by or with when referring to someone who is suffering. The main difference between the two terms is that afflicted by suggests that the person is a victim of something, whereas afflicted with indicates that the person has a condition or disease.

Here are some examples:

She was afflicted by poverty and illness. (She was a victim of poverty and illness.)

He’s been afflicted with cancer for years. (He has had cancer for years.)

What is the synonym of afflict?

(Alex Green on

picture of a man in anguish

There is no single word that is a perfect synonym for “afflict,” but there are several words that have similar meanings. “Afflict” typically refers to causing physical or mental pain or suffering, often as a result of an illness or injury. Some similar words include “torment,” “torture,” and “harm.”

What are life’s afflictions?

There are many things in life that can cause afflictions, such as illness or injury. Others are mental, such as depression or anxiety. Still others are emotional, such as grief or, stress. And finally, there are social afflictions, such as discrimination or exclusion.

No matter what type of affliction we’re dealing with, it can be difficult to cope. But it’s important to remember that we’re not alone in our struggle. There are many people who have gone through many afflictions have come out the other side much stronger. Reach out to your friends and family for support, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it.


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