If someone stabs you with a knife, did they afflict you with a wound, or inflict a wound on you? On the other hand, when you catch a cold, are you inflicted by a virus, or afflicted with one? Many writers aren’t sure how to use inflict and afflict correctly, and today I want to discuss how to use these two verbs.
In this post, I will compare afflict vs. afflict. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see them in context. Plus, I will show you a useful memory tool to help you remember whether afflict or inflict is the verb you seek.
Inflict originated in mid 16th century (in the sense ‘afflict, trouble’): from Latin inflict- ‘struck against’, from the verb infligere, from in- ‘into’ + fligere ‘to strike’. The word afflict originated from late Middle English (in the sense ‘deject, humiliate’): from Latin afflictare ‘knock about, harass’, or from afflict- ‘knocked down, weakened’: both from the verb affligere, from ad- ‘to’ + fligere ‘to strike, dash’.
Inflict as verb:
Afflict as verb:
Inflict or afflict
Inflict and afflict are two verbs that are so similar that it is easy to confuse them. Inflict means to cause harm or trouble. Afflict means to be caused harm or trouble by something, usually a disease. The two words appear similar and have related meanings, but they are used in specific ways. Since afflict is used with diseases, remember that it and atherosclerosis, a type of disease, both begin with the letter A. Nuances in meaning and usage can make similar verbs difficult to differentiate. Don’t forget, you can always check this site when you have questions about confusing words and other writing topics.