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Difference between Affect and Afflict

When you are feeling down, what do you say to yourself? “I am so depressed.” “I’m in a funk.” “I’m feeling really bad today.” All of these phrases describe your affect. Your affect describes your emotional state at any given time. But, when something bad happens and you feel the physical effects of that bad thing, such as a headache or chest pain, you are said to be afflicting. So what’s the difference between affect and afflict? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Affect?

Affect is a verb that means to influence or to have an impact on. For example, a person’s upbringing might affect their personality, or a traumatic event might Affect their mental state. Affect can also be used as a noun, in which case it refers to an emotion or a feeling. For example, “The Affect of the news was evident on her face.” In general, Affect is used as a verb more often than it is used as a noun. When Affect is used as a verb, it is usually followed by the word “on.” For example, “The cold weather Affected my sinuses.” Affect can also be used as an adjective, meaning to produce an effect on. For example, “The Affected area of the brain causes blindness.”

What is Afflict?

Afflict is used as a verb meaning to cause continuous pain or suffering to (someone). Afflict is derived from the Latin verb affligere, meaning “to strike down.” When you afflict someone, you cause that person severe and ongoing pain or hardship. People who are afflicted by a disease or an injury often feel helpless and alone. The adjective afflicted can describe someone who is very unhappy or who is struggling with a difficult circumstance. If you know someone who is afflicted, you might try to help that person by offering support and understanding.

Difference between Affect and Afflict

Affect and afflict are two words that are often confused because of their similar spellings. Affect is most commonly used as a verb meaning to influence or to produce a change in something. Afflict, on the other hand, is most commonly used as a verb meaning to cause pain or suffering. Although both words can be used as verbs, affect is also occasionally used as a noun, whereas afflict is never used as a noun. Because of their different meanings and usage, affect and afflict cannot be used interchangeably. Affecting change is not the same as afflicting pain; one is positive and the other is negative. Remembering the difference between these two words will ensure that you use them correctly in your writing.


Affect and afflict are two very different words that are often confused. Affect is a verb meaning to influence or change, while afflict is a noun meaning something that inflicts pain, suffering, or distress. In order to avoid confusion it’s important to remember the following: affect is always used as a verb, while afflict can be either a verb or a noun. When you use these two words correctly in your writing you will make an impression on your reader and help them understand the difference between these two important concepts.

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