Worry (that)

Harry F

Senior Member
Mandarin
I saw an example sentence in the dictionary that goes “she worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help.” Does that mean she was sure she wasn’t doing enough to help and that she was worried about the consequences, or that she wasn’t sure if she had done enough to help?

Thanks
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    That's close but I am not sure you got the sequence of tenses right: She worried (in the past) that she wasn't doing (at that time) enough to help.
    She worried she might not have done enough to help
    means that not doing enough to help happened before her worrying and caused her to worry.
     

    Harry F

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    That's close but I am not sure you got the sequence of tenses right: She worried (in the past) that she wasn't doing (at that time) enough to help.
    She worried she might not have done enough to help
    means that not doing enough to help happened before her worrying and caused her to worry.
    Yeah I think you are right.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    General American English USA - Standard
    I saw an example sentence in the dictionary that goes “she worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help.” Does that mean she was sure she wasn’t doing enough to help and that she was worried about the consequences, or that she wasn’t sure if she had done enough to help?

    Thanks

    “She worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help.”

    A) We can paraphrase this sentence in the following ways in order to say what the sentence means:

    1) She didn't know whether or not she was doing enough to help, and it caused her to worry.

    2) Not knowing whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to worry.

    3) She worried because she did not know whether or not she was doing enough to help.

    4) That she did not know whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to worry.

    _____________

    B) Here's a way we can define the sentence:

    She worried. < This is what she did.

    that she wasn't doing enough to help < This is what she was uncertain about, and it caused her to worry.

    _____________

    C) Here's a way to speak of what the sentence means:

    Her uncertainty about whether or not she was doing enough to help was the source of her worrying.

    D) The key, here, is that "she worried" is followed by a noun clause beginning with "that".

    > Because the noun clause, "that she wasn't doing enough to help" follows "she worried", we immediately understand that she was uncertain about whether or not she was doing enough to help. And this uncertainty caused her to worry.

    _____________

    E) Here's how we can understand the example sentence.

    Her thoughts precede her worrying.

    She thought this:

    I didn't know whether or not I was doing enough to help, and, because of this, I worried.

    The above sentence translates to the original example sentence:

    “She worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help.”

    _____________

    First person

    "I worried that I wasn't doing enough to help."

    This is what she said:

    "She said she worried that she wasn't doing enough to help."
     
    Last edited:

    Harry F

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    “She worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help.”

    A) We can paraphrase this sentence in the following ways in order to say what the sentence means:

    1) She didn't know whether or not she was doing enough to help, and it caused her to worry.

    2) Not knowing whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to worry.

    3) She worried because she did not know whether or not she was doing enough to help.

    4) That she did not know whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to worry.

    _____________

    B) Here's a way we can define the sentence:

    She worried. < This is what she did.

    that she wasn't doing enough to help < This is what she was uncertain about, and it caused her to worry.

    _____________

    C) Here's a way to speak of what the sentence means:

    Her uncertainty about whether or not she was doing enough to help was the source of her worrying.

    D) The key, here, is what we automatically understand the noun clause to mean.

    > Because the noun clause, "that she wasn't doing enough to help" follows "she worried", we understand that she was uncertain about whether or not she was doing enough to help. And this uncertainty caused her to worry.

    _____________

    E) Here's how we can understand the example sentence.

    Her thoughts precede her worrying.

    She thought this:

    I didn't know whether or not I was doing enough to help, and, because of this, I worried.

    The above sentence translates to the original example sentence:

    “She worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help.”

    _____________

    First person

    "I worried that I wasn't doing enough to help."

    This is what she said:

    "She said she worried that she wasn't doing enough to help."
    Hi thanks for your comprehensive answer. So noun clause can be used to state the reasons of an action then :)
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    General American English USA - Standard
    Hi thanks for your comprehensive answer. So noun clause can be used to state the reasons of an action then :)

    You're welcome.

    In this particular example, yes.

    However, we have to take each example individually and on its own merit.

    Note that we can get the same idea with "concerned". We cannot use the verb "concern", here, just the verb derived adjective "concerned".

    "She was concerned that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    __________

    We cannot say the same thing about the verb "think", however. This is simply what she thought, and there's no cause and effect, here, as there is with "worry" and "concerned".

    "She thought that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    The sentence only tells us what she thought.

    "She believed that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    This sentence only tells us what she believed.

    "She knew that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    This sentence only tells us what she knew.

    __________

    The verb "fear", in this respect, is similar to "worry" and "concerned".

    "She feared that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    Her uncertainty about whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to fear.

    This sentence also tells us what she feared.

    So this sentence works both ways.

    __________

    Let's look at one more verb. Here's the verb "doubt".

    "She doubted that she was doing enough to help."

    This one works both ways:

    This sentence tells us what she doubted.

    And her uncertainty about whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to doubt.

    __________

    So how we understand a noun clause beginning with "that" has to do with what we understand about the verb that precedes it.

    These verbs express or project uncertainty:

    worry, fear, doubt - Then there's "concerned", which also projects uncertainty.

    These verbs can prompt, or trigger, our perception and understanding of a noun clause beginning with "that" when a noun clause beginning with "that" follows a clause that uses one of these verbs.

    cause = uncertainty

    effect = worry, fear, doubt

    effect = be concerned
    __________

    effect = be upset

    She was upset that she wasn't doing enough to help.

    She wasn't doing enough to help, and she was upset because of this. Or this upset her.

    __________

    Related note

    Grammar interacts with vocabulary. The two do not always function separately from each other. This can affect how we process information, which is to say our cognition.

    In other words, we can say something like this:

    Grammar form X with this vocabulary causes us to understand Y.
     
    Last edited:

    Harry F

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    You're welcome.

    In this particular example, yes.

    However, we have to take each example individually and on its own merit.

    Note that we can get the same idea with "concerned". We cannot use the verb "concern", here, just the verb derived adjective "concerned".

    "She was concerned that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    __________

    We cannot say the same thing about the verb "think", however. This is simply what she thought, and there's no cause and effect, here, as there is with "worry" and "concerned".

    "She thought that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    The sentence only tells us what she thought.

    "She believed that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    This sentence only tells us what she believed.

    "She knew that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    This sentence only tells us what she knew.

    __________

    The verb "fear", in this respect, is similar to "worry" and "concerned".

    "She feared that she wasn't doing enough to help."

    Her uncertainty about whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to fear.

    This sentence also tells us what she feared.

    So this sentence works both ways.

    __________

    Let's look at one more verb. Here's the verb "doubt".

    "She doubted that she was doing enough to help."

    This one works both ways:

    This sentence tells us what she doubted.

    And her uncertainty about whether or not she was doing enough to help caused her to doubt.

    __________

    So how we understand a noun clause beginning with "that" has to do with what we understand about the verb that precedes it.

    These verbs express or project uncertainty:

    worry, fear, doubt - Then there's "concerned", which also projects uncertainty.

    These verbs can prompt, or trigger, our perception and understanding of a noun clause beginning with "that" when a noun clause beginning with "that" follows a clause that uses one of these verbs.

    __________

    Related note

    Grammar interacts with vocabulary. The two do not always function separately from each other. This can affect how we process information, which is to say our cognition.

    In other words, we can say something like this:

    Grammar form X with this vocabulary causes us to understand Y.
    Oh wow thank you a lot. By the way, I saw from the Oxford Dictionary that “worry” can also be about actual problems instead of just potential problems. What would the sentence be like in that sense? Thanks.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    General American English USA - Standard
    Oh wow thank you a lot. By the way, I saw from the Oxford Dictionary that “worry” can also be about actual problems instead of just potential problems. What would the sentence be like in that sense? Thanks.

    You're welcome. Please, note that I added to my previous post.

    In speaking of problems, we often use "worry" with the preposition "about".

    She worried about her friend because she knew that her friend was not getting enough help with her prescription opioid addiction.

    She worried about driving during the heavy snowstorm, so she decided to stay overnight at a hotel before going home. She decided it would be better to wait until the roads are plowed and the snow stops.

    Driving during a heavy snowstorm can present a problem. Many people stay off the roads during heavy snowstorms. Driving during heavy snowstorms is dangerous and can cause people to get into accidents.

    __________

    She worries about not doing enough to help her friend. She no longer lives close by. She moved away to another city.

    So, in this sentence, we find that not doing enough to help is not a potential problem. It is a real and current problem. With this, again, we often use "worry" with "about".

    Here's "worry" without "about". And this is a current and real problem.

    She worries because she is not doing enough to help her friend.

    She knows that this is true. It's not a potential problem. It is a problem now.
     
    Last edited:

    Harry F

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    You're welcome. Please, note that I added to my previous post.

    In speaking of problems, we often use "worry" with the preposition "about".

    She worried about her friend because she knew that her friend was not getting enough help with her prescription opioid addiction.

    She worried about driving during the heavy snowstorm, so she decided to stay overnight at a hotel before going home. She decided it would be better to wait until the roads are plowed and the snow stops.

    Driving during a heavy snowstorm can present a problem. Many people stay off the roads during heavy snowstorms. Driving during heavy snowstorms is dangerous and can cause people to get into accidents.

    __________

    She worries about not doing enough to help her friend. She no longer lives close by. She moved away to another city.

    So, in this sentence, we find that not doing enough to help is not a potential problem. It is a real and current problem. With this, again, we often use "worry" with "about".

    Here's "worry" without "about". And this is a current and real problem.

    She worries because she is not doing enough to help her friend.

    She knows that this is true. It's not a potential problem. It is a problem now.
    Hi, Steven,

    Thanks for your examples. I understand how “worry” is used now. So “worry (that)” is followed by a potential problem while “worry about” and “worry because” are followed by actual problems. But I kind of think that “driving during rainstorms” is a potential problem, isn’t it? It’s like if you drive during rainstorms, you are very likely to be injured.

    And also I saw the addiction to your previous post. It’s very helpful for understanding “worry + that clause”. :)
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    General American English USA - Standard
    Hi, Steven,

    Thanks for your examples. I understand how “worry” is used now. So “worry (that)” is followed by a potential problem while “worry about” and “worry because” are followed by actual problems. But I kind of think that “driving during rainstorms” is a potential problem, isn’t it? It’s like if you drive during rainstorms, you are very likely to be injured.

    You're welcome, Harry. Yes, that is it, generally, going on the examples we are using in this thread.

    I would say that, yes, you are correct to say that this depends on our perception, which is to say our individual perception. In so many words, this is what I believe you are saying. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, please, note that I said "heavy snowstorm", not "rainstorm".

    ;) :)


    For some people, or many people, driving during heavy snowstorms is, in and of itself, problematic -- and therefore a problem. In other words, there is inherent danger when driving during heavy snowstorms. Danger is a problem.

    Even if it's only likely, "likely to be injured" is a problem. In other words, I would say that a strong likelihood of a bad event occurring is already a problem -- even before an injury occurs.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Quite simply and in a nutshell, I agree with grassy. Sometimes main clauses can be converted to 'about + gerund/participle' phrases.

    -I worry that I'm not doing enough to help my sick husband.
    >I worry about not doing ... .

    -Sometimes I worry/I am worried that I didn't do enough to help my mother in the last years of her life.
    >Sometimes I worry/I am worried about not having done enough ... .

    -She's worried about developing dementia/ losing her job.
    > She's worried that she might develop dementia and lose her her job

    -I worry/I'm worried about the future/my health.
    > ???
    -They worry/are worried about having no savings
    >They worry/they are worried that they have no savings.

    I give these examples just to show the possible constructions.
     

    Harry F

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    You're welcome, Harry. Yes, that is it, generally, going on the examples we are using in this thread.

    I would say that, yes, you are correct to say that this depends on our perception, which is to say our individual perception. In so many words, this is what I believe you are saying. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, please, note that I said "heavy snowstorm", not "rainstorm".

    ;) :)


    For some people, or many people, driving during heavy snowstorms is, in and of itself, problematic -- and therefore a problem. In other words, there is inherent danger when driving during heavy snowstorms. Danger is a problem.

    Even if it's only likely, "likely to be injured" is a problem. In other words, I would say that a strong likelihood of a bad event occurring is already a problem -- even before an injury occurs.
    Ahhh sorry I miswrote “snowstorms”. You are right about that being an actual problem - I just didn’t think of it that way. By perception you mean like personal opinions or what we see?

    Do you think there’s exceptions to the examples we mentioned, since you said “generally”?
     

    Harry F

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Quite simply and in a nutshell, I agree with grassy. Sometimes main clauses can be converted to 'about + gerund/participle' phrases.

    -I worry that I'm not doing enough to help my sick husband.
    >I worry about not doing ... .

    -Sometimes I worry/I am worried that I didn't do enough to help my mother in the last years of her life.
    >Sometimes I worry/I am worried about not having done enough ... .

    -She's worried about developing dementia/ losing her job.
    > She's worried that she might develop dementia and lose her her job

    -I worry/I'm worried about the future/my health.
    > ???
    -They worry/are worried about having no savings
    >They worry/they are worried that they have no savings.

    I give these examples just to show the possible constructions.
    Hi Hermione,

    Thank you for your example sentences!

    But I have a bit of a question. According to Oxford Dictionary, worry can be both about actual problems and about potential problems. So in these sentences you provided, how do we distinguish between when they are referring to an actual problem (she was actually not doing enough) and when they are referring to a potential problem (she may not be doing enough)? Thanks.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    General American English USA - Standard
    Ahhh sorry I miswrote “snowstorms”. You are right about that being an actual problem - I just didn’t think of it that way. By perception you mean like personal opinions or what we see?

    Do you think there’s exceptions to the examples we mentioned, since you said “generally”?

    No problem. ;)


    1) By perception, I mean how we understand and arrive at conclusions given information in situations and circumstances.

    2) I would not say exceptions, no. I mean that we cannot know that we've thought of all types of possibilities and all types of sentences using "worry".

    Sometimes, we can cover all, or many, possibilities. However, this would not be so all the time.

    I say "generally" because sometimes, or much of the time, that's what we do: we generalize. We can't cover or think of every possibility that is available all the time. So this is a generalization.

    We could find, or discover, an example that contradicts what I've posted here. I believe, just the same, it's safe to generalize for this particular question with respect to the example sentences in this discussion thread.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top