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I am afraid

English translation: I fear, apprehend, doubt, regret

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:I am afraid
English translation:I fear, apprehend, doubt, regret
Entered by: NancyLynn
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13:51 May 24, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics
English term or phrase: I am afraid
I want to learn the whole range of connotations of I am afraid from native speakers.

Does it mean I apprehend or doubt and I regret as well.

Is it imperative to put *that* here:

I am afraid *that* I won't be able to help you

I am afraid *that* your question is irrelevant.

Any other information in respect of this phrase would be highly appreciated.
Geeta
I fear, apprehend, doubt, regret
Explanation:
it is on line with a sentence beginning with 'sorry, but...'.
you cannot trake it literally, as you noted in your question : the person saying it is quite certain of his/her stance: I am afraid I can't help you really means Don't look for help from this quarter, mate!
It is what the French call une locution de politesse : it's a polite way of refusing the asker's wishes, for whatever reason. That reason follows I'm afraid : I'm afraid you can't take a camera into the stadium, ma'am - this means no camera, or you lose the price of admission!
Selected response from:

NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 03:01
Grading comment
Thanks to all of you. I was really in a dilemma to choose an answerer. In fact, you all deserve to be rewarded for your great suggestions but I am sorry I am just unable to do so.

Thanks again for your wonderful help.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +10"that" is not necessaryVicky Papaprodromou
5 +8I fear, apprehend, doubt, regret
NancyLynn
4 +7concerned
Kim Metzger
4 +1*I* am afraidDavid Moore


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +10
i am afraid
"that" is not necessary


Explanation:
Your sentences are just great the way they are. However, if you want to omit "that", there will be no problem.

For the first case you could also say:
"I am afraid (that) I might not be able to help you".

Vicky Papaprodromou
Local time: 10:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Greek
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Orla Ryan
11 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
17 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Julie Roy: True that!
34 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  nlingua
1 hr
  -> Thanks!

agree  Craft.Content
2 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Hacene
3 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Patricia Baldwin: you go girl!
6 hrs
  -> Thanks, Patricia. My greetings to Argentina!

agree  Gareth McMillan
7 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Rusinterp
11 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  mrrobkoc
23 hrs
  -> Thanks!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +8
i am afraid
I fear, apprehend, doubt, regret


Explanation:
it is on line with a sentence beginning with 'sorry, but...'.
you cannot trake it literally, as you noted in your question : the person saying it is quite certain of his/her stance: I am afraid I can't help you really means Don't look for help from this quarter, mate!
It is what the French call une locution de politesse : it's a polite way of refusing the asker's wishes, for whatever reason. That reason follows I'm afraid : I'm afraid you can't take a camera into the stadium, ma'am - this means no camera, or you lose the price of admission!

NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 03:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 26
Grading comment
Thanks to all of you. I was really in a dilemma to choose an answerer. In fact, you all deserve to be rewarded for your great suggestions but I am sorry I am just unable to do so.

Thanks again for your wonderful help.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxAlfa Trans
17 mins
  -> thanks !

agree  Refugio
22 mins
  -> thanks !

agree  Julie Roy: Nicely put ;-)
33 mins
  -> thanks very much!

agree  Craft.Content
2 hrs
  -> thanks !

agree  Hacene
3 hrs
  -> cheers Hacene

agree  Clauwolf
4 hrs
  -> thanks !

neutral  Gareth McMillan: A bit sceptical. What if a doctor cannot help his patient because it is beyond his power?
7 hrs
  -> I'm afraid it is beyond my power to help you ;-)

agree  Rusinterp
11 hrs
  -> thanks !

agree  Tanja Abramovic
2 days18 hrs
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24 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
i am afraid
concerned


Explanation:
I agree with the others that "that" isn't required in your sample sentences. "I'm afraid I won't be able to help you."
Definitions 2 and 3 fit your sample sentences. Note that if someone said,"I'm afraid I have AIDS" the meaning would be as defined in definition 1.

Adj. 1. afraid - filled with fear or apprehension; "afraid even to turn his head"; "suddenly looked afraid"; "afraid for his life"; "afraid of snakes"; "afraid to ask questions"
timid - showing fear and lack of confidence
cowardly, fearful - lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted; "cowardly dogs, ye will not aid me then"- P.B.Shelley
fearless, unafraid - oblivious of dangers or perils or calmly resolute in facing them

2. afraid - filled with regret or concern; used often to soften an unpleasant statement; "I'm afraid I won't be able to come"; "he was afraid he would have to let her go"; "I'm afraid you're wrong"
concerned - feeling or showing worry or solicitude; "concerned parents of youthful offenders"; "was concerned about the future"; "we feel concerned about accomplishing the task at hand"; "greatly concerned not to disappoint a small child"

3. afraid - feeling worry or concern or insecurity; "She was afraid that I might be embarrassed"; "terribly afraid of offending someone"; "I am afraid we have witnessed only the first phase of the conflict"
concerned - feeling or showing worry or solicitude; "concerned parents of youthful offenders"; "was concerned about the future"; "we feel concerned about accomplishing the task at hand"; "greatly concerned not to disappoint a small child"

4. afraid - having feelings of aversion or unwillingness; "afraid of hard work"; "afraid to show emotion"
disinclined - unwilling because of mild dislike or disapproval; "disinclined to say anything to anybody"

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/afraid


Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 02:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 187

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Julie Roy: very thorough ;-)
15 mins

agree  nlingua
1 hr

agree  Sophie Theophile
1 hr

agree  Terry Gilman
1 hr

agree  Hacene
2 hrs

agree  Gareth McMillan
7 hrs

agree  Rusinterp
11 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
i am afraid
*I* am afraid


Explanation:
.... you haven't any complete answers yet; whether you will get any at all is uncertain, but outside the context you suggest, "I am afraid" will frequently mean "I am frightened (something nasty may happen)". A dangerous criminal escapes from a príson near where you live; "I am afraid it may may happen again". You are supposed to go shopping with your best friend for her wedding outfit, and you have to work late because your relief has had an accident; you have to ring her and say "I am afraid I won't be finishing work in time to go shopping with you" is a statement that you are sorry that you'll have to break your arrangement with her. Add these two to those Nancy has given above. There are probably others, but I can't bring them to mind at will.
BTW, Nancy is also quite correct in saying the "that" is not needed here; it is in fact understood.

David Moore
Local time: 09:01
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gareth McMillan
4 hrs
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