Afraid of/to

Hello! How are you feeling? :smiley:

‘I am afraid of spiders’

‘I am afraid to fly’

Can I say ‘I am afraid of flying’?

I?ve just seen ‘I am afraid of losing’ written
in a grammar book, and this
made me hesitate about the use of ‘afraid of/to’.
To be honest, I thought that the use of one or
other preposition depended on if there was
a noun or a verb after it.

Thanks a lot!


Hello, Jesus!
To be afraid to do smth
I am afraid to do smth= I don’t want to do smth because it’s dangerous or the result could be unpleasant

Ex.The streets in this city are not safe at night. Many people are afraid to go out alone (they don’t want to go out alone because it’s dangerous)

To be afraid of -ing

I am afraid osf something happening=there is a possibility that something bad will happen
Ex. We walked along the path very carefully because it was icy and we were afraid of falling

In a nutshell, you are afraid to do something because you are afraid of something happening as a result.

Ex. The boys were afraid to play football in the garden because they were afraid of breaking a window.

Hello, Pamela!

Many thanks!

But I still hesitate. Maybe because I just see a
slight difference between them sometimes.

For example in my example, if you?ll forgive the
repetition, I think that ‘flying’ can be dangerous
and possibly something bad could happen.

So, Could I say both of them?

I am afraid of flying/I am afraid to fly.

Thanks a lot!


Jesus, you may say, afraid of flying and afraid to fly, it depends on the context. In my way of thinking there are cases when they can be interchangeable. :wink:

We walked along the path very carefully because it was icy and we were afraid of falling ( here you cannot say afraid to fall because afraid of falling is already a result)


Another way of distinguishing between the use of of or to followed by a verb form is that to + infinitive is usually in anticipation as in: I was afraid to speak out loud because I didn’t want to disturb anybody and so I kept quiet.

Afraid of is often more general when used with the gerund form as in: I was always afraid of saying what I thought in case I upset someone. This suggests a general fear and does not usually refer to a particular situation.
The construction can also be used with a noun as in: afraid of the dark/heights/crowded places.


Right! So, I am afraid to take the exam since
I am afraid of failing it.

Is that correct?

Thank you very much indeed


Jesus, your usage of afraid to do smth and afraid of -ing is Ok :wink:


Alan, Pamela, Thanks for making English clearer for me.

Have a nice Sunday!