ENGLISHPairs of Words

Afraid & Frightened

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1.We use ‘Be afraid/frightened + to-V1‘ when we feel fear because we think something bad will happen; e.g.

a) She was afraid to go out in case it rained.
b) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
c) Many a victim is afraid to go to the police.
d) She was frightened to drive a bike lest she should meet with an accident.
e) If you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask. vi) Don’t be afraid to say what you think.

NOTE: We use AFRAID alone after linking verbs such as BE, SEEM, BECOME and FEEL. We don’t use it before a noun. For example, don’t say ‘an afraid boy’. However, you can say ‘a frightened boy‘; e.g.

INCORRECT: He was acting like an afraid kid.
CORRECT: He was acting like a frightened kid.

2. We use ‘BE AFRAID OF + ING FORM’ when we are worried or anxious about something which might happen, we don’t use FRIGHTENED in this meaning; e.g.

a) Most criminals are afraid of being caught.
b) He says that he is afraid of losing his job.
c) She was afraid of being late for school.
d) She’s afraid of being attacked if she walks across the park.

NOTE: In this sense we can also use a THAT CLAUSE after AFRAID; e.g.

a) She was afraid (that) I might be beaten by the parents for being late.
b) She was afraid (that) he might be upset if she told him.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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