30/6/17 The Difference between Afraid and Fear

The Difference between Afraid and Fear

In an informal style, be afraid is more common than fear.
  • Don’t be afraid. (NOT Don’t fear.)
  • Are you afraid of the dark? (NOT Do you fear…?)
  • I’m not afraid to say what I think. (NOT I don’t fear…)
“I’m afraid” = “I’m sorry”
I’m afraid (that) often means “I’m sorry to tell you (that)”. It is used to introduce apologetic refusals and bad news.
  • I’m afraid (that) I can’t help you.
  • I’m afraid (that) there has been a mistake.
I’m afraid so/not are used as short answers.
  • Can you lend me that? – I’m afraid not.
  • It’s going to rain. – I’m afraid so.