afraid

fuji04

Banned
Spanish
Hi, can you say "I was afraid" without continuing the sentence instead of "I was afraid of darkness"? or it would be better to say "I was frightened"?
Thank you in advance.
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Afraid = frightened, but whether either word completes the sentence depends on what came before. "I was ______" doesn't mean much if you haven't said where you were or what was going on.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi, can you say "I was afraid" without continuing the sentence instead of "I was afraid of darkness"? or it would be better to say "I was frightened"?
    Thank you in advance.
    Certainly you can say 'I was afraid' without following it with an of-phrase#.And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

    And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself - Genesis III, 10.

    These famous words of Adam in the Garden of Eden are just one of many examples in the Bible of this form.


    I find it impossible to say which is better, afraid or frightened. There's not much difference in meaning; I suspect that frightened is less literary, more everyday. The ngrams suggest the opposite is the case, but one can't tell how many of the cases in the ngrams do not contain following of-phrases.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    On a more prosaic level:
    "The lights went out and I was afraid."
    "He jumped out of the cupboard as screamed. I was really frightened."

    You are usually afraid of something - anything that might cause concern, but you are frightened by something and that usually has to be something positive, something that that is active - frightened is usually more sudden.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    To elaborate: the ngrams suggest that people are almost as often frightened of something as frightened by something.

    To be frightened by something is to receive a sudden scare, but to be frightened of something describes a fearful disposition.

    We don't usually say that someone was afraid by something, but we do say that he was afraid of something.

    Saying I am afraid by itself is not to specify the source, though one may have just done so, or be just about to do so.
     
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