afraid of vs. afraid for


1.Somehow he is afraid for her.

I have looked up my dictionary that shows "afraid for..." means to worry about someone or something.

But the translaton of the example 1 means he fears her.

What do you think of it? If I change the preposition from "for" to " of ", namely "Somehow he is afraid of her". What's the difference between the two examples?

Many thanks!
  • With 'for', it means, ' 'afraid' on behalf of someone who may be in danger,' or ' 'afraid' out of concern for someone.' Jack is afraid for Ms Smith, who has no dog to bark at intruders. Jack is not exactly 'afraid' (seized by fear) but concerned with Ms Smith's safety. The danger is not facing Jack, but Ms Smith. The use of afraid here, is more like Jack was afraid there would be a storm on the day he planned the picnic.

    With 'of' it means the normal situation. Jack is afraid of Ms Smith's dog. After 'of' comes the dangerous thing. And the one having the fear--actual fear-- is Jack.


    Senior Member
    @littlejose The gentle man already gave a good explanation, it sound good.Of course,maybe specially case happen on your context. If you have free time, responding him would be welcome.

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "He is afraid for her": He thinks that something bad might happen to her, and this worries him. "He is afraid for her" cannot mean "He fears her" in my experience.
    "He is afraid of her": He fears her.