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afraid >< scared

English translation: see explanation

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:afraid vs scared
English translation:see explanation
Entered by: Kardi Kho
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05:37 Jan 8, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
/ other
English term or phrase: afraid >< scared
which one is commonly use in england ?
aning
see explanation
Explanation:
According to the OED, 'scared' is very common in informal speech and is often used to describe small fears, while 'afraid' is more formal and less common; BUT this is true only when they are used to mean the feeling of fear.
As we all know, 'afraid' has broader meaning/usage, more than just feeling fear. 'Afraid' is also used to mean 'worried' and in this case, 'afraid' is more commonly used than 'scared'.
The idiom 'I'm afraid (that)' means 'I'm sorry to tell you (that)' and is used to introduce apologetic refusals and bad news (I'm afraid that I can't help you). In this case, scared is hardly used.

Another important point is that 'afraid' is one of the adjectives that are not usually used before a noun in attributive position
John is afraid (but never John is an afraid man).
On the contrary, 'scared' can be used in attributive position eg. a scared child'

hope that helps
Selected response from:

Kardi Kho
Indonesia
Local time: 16:16
Grading comment
thanksnagain k !
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +10I would say 'afraid' is more commonly used, because ...Refugio
3 +7stylistic difference
Michael Tovbin
5 +1afraid has two menings, scared rather only one
Teresa Goscinska
5both are commonly used in the UKMike Birch
4see explanation
Kardi Kho
5 -1afraid
cruzacalles
3afraid -- scared/frightenedNoel Castelino


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +7
stylistic difference


Explanation:
I would say that they are stylistically different. "Afraid" is neutral while "scared" is colloquial and emotionally colored. According to Hornby, neither is described as specifically US or UK.

Michael Tovbin
United States
Local time: 04:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 108

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chris Rowson
26 mins

agree  xxxKanta Rawat
1 hr

agree  xxxEDLING
1 hr

agree  Clair@Lexeme
1 hr

agree  jerrie
3 hrs

agree  vixen
4 hrs

agree  Rusinterp
16 hrs
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
afraid


Explanation:
scared is a more casual term.

cruzacalles
United States
Local time: 05:16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Peter Coles: It depends on the context. "I'm afraid that I can't go (to the party)" is a very common, casual phrase in England. "I'm scared that I can't go" would be rather mot
5 hrs
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46 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +10
I would say 'afraid' is more commonly used, because ...


Explanation:
it is not only used to express fear, but also doubt.

"I'm afraid you don't know what you are talking about."

"I'm afraid I forgot to bring my lunch today."

Also, afraid is a more general or even abstract word sometimes.
"I am afraid of cats."
But:
"My neighbor's cat scared me when he jumped out of the bushes."

Refugio
Local time: 02:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 485

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Fuad Yahya: Good analysis. The distinctions apply in the US as well.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks Fuad

agree  Marie Scarano
3 hrs
  -> Thanks Marie

agree  Andy Watkinson: Nice distinction
3 hrs
  -> Thanks Andy

agree  Peter Coles: Afraid is also used (in GB English at least) to express regret, or to apologise, e.g. "I'm afraid that I forgot to bring the report".
4 hrs
  -> Indeed. Thanks Peter

agree  Jacqueline van der Spek
8 hrs
  -> Thanks Jacqueline

agree  Christopher Crockett: Yes, it depends entirely on the context.
9 hrs
  -> Thanks Christopher

agree  Rusinterp
15 hrs
  -> Thanks Rusinterp

agree  Kardi Kho: I would say 'afraid' has broader meaning.
18 hrs
  -> I am afraid you are right. Thanks K.

agree  Teresa Goscinska
1 day9 hrs
  -> Thanks Teresa

agree  Nikita Kobrin
3 days5 hrs
  -> Thanks Nikita
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
both are commonly used in the UK


Explanation:
There is a fundamental difference:
'scared' derives from a transitive verb;
'to be afraid' is intransitive.
Both words are Standard English, and neither is a colloquialism.

Mike Birch
Local time: 10:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 15

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Refugio: Although afraid is derived from the archaic transitive verb 'affray', to frighten. Not such a fundamental difference after all.
1 hr
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20 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
see explanation


Explanation:
According to the OED, 'scared' is very common in informal speech and is often used to describe small fears, while 'afraid' is more formal and less common; BUT this is true only when they are used to mean the feeling of fear.
As we all know, 'afraid' has broader meaning/usage, more than just feeling fear. 'Afraid' is also used to mean 'worried' and in this case, 'afraid' is more commonly used than 'scared'.
The idiom 'I'm afraid (that)' means 'I'm sorry to tell you (that)' and is used to introduce apologetic refusals and bad news (I'm afraid that I can't help you). In this case, scared is hardly used.

Another important point is that 'afraid' is one of the adjectives that are not usually used before a noun in attributive position
John is afraid (but never John is an afraid man).
On the contrary, 'scared' can be used in attributive position eg. a scared child'

hope that helps

Kardi Kho
Indonesia
Local time: 16:16
Native speaker of: Native in IndonesianIndonesian
PRO pts in pair: 35
Grading comment
thanksnagain k !
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1 day10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
afraid has two menings, scared rather only one


Explanation:
As Ruth said :
afraid it is not only used to express fear, but also doubt.

scared means rather only fear.
It is not very common to say: i am scared I cannot help you.

So the question should not be :which is more common, but when is used

I would also say that scared is more serious than afraid



Teresa Goscinska
Local time: 19:16
Native speaker of: Polish
PRO pts in pair: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nikita Kobrin
1 day20 hrs
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2 days16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
afraid -- scared/frightened


Explanation:
Just to add to the excellent points made by the previous contributors:

I am afraid of ghosts, but last night I was scared/frightened out of my wits by A ghost.

Being scared/frightened has an immediacy about it. Being afraid is a more general, permanent and deep-rooted condition.

Have you thought of asking this question in the Indonesian section ?

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Note added at 2003-01-12 10:50:13 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I ask this because you want your answers in Indonesian.

Noel Castelino
Local time: 11:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 4
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