Friday, November 2

Are You Afraid?

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How was your Halloween holiday? I hope you all got a good scare.


Well, our topic for today is still kinda part of Halloween.

Today we’re going to talk about how to make sentences using the word “afraid.”

FIRST of all, Part of Speech. What kind of word is it?

The word “afraid” is an Adjective. This means that every time you want to use it, don’t forget to add the “Be verb” in front of it.

Like this:

Be + afraid


I am afraid.

He is afraid.

You are afraid.


NEXT is the meaning. Of course most of you already know the meaning of this word. So, you can understand our sentences below:

  1. I’m afraid of ghosts.

  2. I’m afraid of cockroaches.

  3. I’m afraid of the dark.

I’m afraid that…

Do you know that there’s another expression using the word “afraid” that has a completely different meaning?

Take a look at the following examples:

  1. I’m afraid I can’t join you guys tonight.

  2. I’m afraid I don’t have any pen.

  3. I’m afraid we are fully booked.

Here, what do you feel the meaning of the word “afraid" is?

In the three sentences above, “I’m afraid,” in fact, means “I’m sorry to say that…

It’s a common expression used to politely express a situation that you regret.

Here are some more examples:

  1. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer.

  2. I’m afraid she just left.

As you can see, here the word “afraid” doesn’t mean scared or frightened.

Afraid of or Afraid to?

Let’s go back to the original meaning of “afraid,” which is to feel fear.

We have already studied two kinds of sentences: “Afraid of” is followed by a Noun and “afraid that” is followed by a Clause (S + V).

 But “afraid” can also be followed by a Verb in two (2) ways:

  • afraid of V+ing

  • afraid to V

Is there any difference between these two structures?

Yes, aside from the obvious difference in form (afraid of + gerund and afraid to + base verb), there’s a difference in meaning between them.

To talk about involuntary (accidental) actions, we use “afraid of.”


I’m afraid of falling down.

I’m afraid of having an accident.

The situations above are things that a person usually can’t control or are negative things that somebody doesn’t want to happen.

On the other hand, to talk about voluntary (deliberate) actions, we use “afraid to.”


I’m afraid to touch his stuff.

He was afraid to join the competition.

“Voluntary” means that, ultimately, you have a choice to perform the action or not. All the sentences above talk about a situation in which the Subject feels (or felt) too frightened to perform the action.

Finally, this is why it’s common to combine the two structures this way:

He is afraid to touch the dog because he is afraid of being bitten.

Touch = voluntary action

Be bitten = involuntary action


She is afraid to stand on the roof because she is afraid of falling down.

Stand = voluntary action

Fall = involuntary action


Now that you know the difference between “afraid of” and “afraid to,” let’s practice:

In the following sentences, please decide whether you will use: (A) afraid of, or (B) afraid to.

  1. I am afraid ___ (talk) to her.

  2. He is afraid ___ (go) alone.

  3. She is afraid ___ (get) injured.

  4. They are afraid ___ (give) any criticism.

  5. We are afraid ___ (swim) over there.

  6. You are afraid ___ (make) a mistake.

  7. I am afraid ___ (take) the test.

  8. I am afraid ____ (get) a low score.

  9. He is afraid ____ (lose) his money.

  10. She is afraid ___ (eat) exotic foods.

After you’ve finished answering all the sentences, you can click the link below to see the answers:

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