Difference Between Scared and Afraid

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 25, 2022

       

Difference Between Scared and Afraid Difference Between Scared and Afraid

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Introduction

People frequently mix the terms Scared and Afraid, which both indicate the same degree of terror. The key distinction is that Scared can be used both before a noun and as a predicative after a verb, but Afraid is usually used after a verb rather than before the word Scared. Both terms are adjectives and, in certain situations, equivalent; however, fearful has a separate connotation that is not the same as terrified. The misconception arises from the fact that both afraid and terrified deal with fear. Thus, Afraid refers to a sensation of fear or trepidation, whereas Scared refers to being startled, shocked, or panicked.

Afraid is frequently used as a synonym for Scared; however, using scared instead of afraid is wrong. Afraid is also used politely to deliver some bad news, regret, or apology, and it is also used to formally refuse something, such as, I am afraid I will not be able to enjoy the party this weekend. The grammar for terrified and afraid also contrasts with the usage of 'by' as a preposition that typically precedes scared, but using afraid in the same meaning does not make sense; for example, The tiny boy was scared by the insect. However, you cannot be afraid of anything or things.

Scared is often definitive with a known cause to be frightened of, such as, I was scared of the spider, whereas fear contains an element of uncertainty, such as, I am worried about embarking on this industry. When describing someone's emotional condition, both terms can be used after the verb 'to be' and before 'of,' but when used in active voice when the subject of the phrase is something terrible, use only terrified or its synonym frightened, such as, It was the terrifying event of my life. (The term terrifying refers to items or circumstances.) Both terms are contested as to whether they may be used correctly in particular contexts or whether they are formal or informal. Some argue that fear is also used for circumstances with a longer duration rather than being scared and is also less formal.

Scared vs. Afraid

The fundamental distinction between scared and afraid is that the word scared is commonly used in casual expressions to indicate small anxieties and a low level of anxiety, whereas 'afraid' is used to describe a more serious and ongoing state of terror. It is more structured and less common; nevertheless, this is only true since they are employed to represent a frightening experience. The phrase terrified is used to describe fear. It is a colloquial term for depicting human emotions such as terror or panic. A terrified person is concerned or 'scared' by something. For example, he is afraid to swim in the ocean. The adjective' scary,' which indicates something that causes dread; the verb 'scare,' which means to make someone terrified; and the noun version of 'scare,' which refers to a terrifying mood or condition, are all grammatical forms of 'scared.'

'Afraid' is another synonymous adjective that expresses dread and horror, although it has greater timeliness and duration than the term "scared."It has a more official and authoritative tone derived from the archaic Old English verb 'affray.' To describe a high sense of dread, the words "traumatized" or "fearful" may be used. While these terms are synonyms for "afraid" and "wary," they can also refer to a more immediate or reactive dread. This might be the sort of dread that causes people to panic. She was afraid when you sprang out of the closet, for example. She is terrified of heights and refuses to enter the building.

Difference Between Scared And Afraid in Tabular Form

Table: Scared vs. Afraid
Parameters Of Comparison
Scared
Afraid
Meaning
It is defined as follows:
  • To feel worried, afraid, horrified, or terrified.
  • A period or state of concern or stress.
  • A rapid startle or terror, especially when there is no apparent cause.
It is defined as follows:
  • Feelings of dread or apprehension (anxiety).
  • Feelings of remorse or unhappiness.
  • Reluctance, unwillingness, disgust, or dislike.
Position
It is used both before and after a noun and after a verb.
Not often used before a noun, but rather after a verb.
Associated Terms
Anxious, terrified, and shaken.
Nervous, concerned, reluctant, and dissatisfied.
Preposition
You can use 'by' as a preposition; for example, She was terrified by the dog.
It does not make sense to use 'by' after fearful, as in, She was terrified by the dog; it sounds grammatically wrong.
Synonyms
Frightened, startled, and intimidated.
Fearful, timid, and anxious.
Etymology
Old Norse skirrs 'frighten,' Middle English skiers' timid.'
Anglo-Norman: Middle English Afrayer is a past participle of the extinct verb affray (affray).
Pronunciation
The word scared is pronounced 'skewed.'
The word 'afraid' is pronounced 'uh fraud.'
Positioning
It might come before or after a noun or a verb.
It is frequently used after a verb rather than before a noun.
Examples
  • I'm scared of skeletons.
  • The man in red is scared of honey bees.
  • She is afraid of dark places.
  • Usually, people are afraid of dark caves.

What Is Scared?

'Scared' is an adjective that denotes dread or worry. A fearful person is uneasy or afraid about something. For example, he is too afraid to enter the sea. Other grammatical forms and meanings of 'scared' include the adjective 'Scary,' which refers to something that creates dread; 'Scare,' which means to induce fear in someone; and 'Scare,' which is a sensation of fear or a circumstance that generates fear. For example, That movie was terrifying. When I returned home, the door abruptly sprang open, giving me a shock. Please don't terrify me with another movie like that.

Scared is an English past tense term that describes the human feeling of panic or anxiety. Oxford defines scared as "being pushed into or existing in a state of fear, worry, or panic." It is used colloquially to describe mild fear. This term's derivation is Middle English: from Old Norse skirrs 'frighten,' from skier 'timid.' The term terrified' is used to express fear or anxiety. A fearful individual is concerned about or terrified of doing something. For example, he is terrified of entering the water. Other grammatical forms of 'scared' include the adverb 'scary,' which refers to something that causes fear; the verb 'scare,' which attempts to make someone terrified; and the noun 'scared,' which refers to something that causes fear. The noun form of 'fear' refers to a scary mood or condition.

Some Examples For Application Of Scared

  • I wasn't scared; I was just someone else, a stranger, and my entire life had been a haunted existence, a ghost's life.
  • Two scared puppies huddled in the corner of the shed.
  • The fake insect scared the small child.
  • She was scared by the joker.
  • 'Scared' can be used more organically in this way. For instance: I am scared.
  • They were scared of diving into a 10-foot swimming pool.
  • He couldn't yell because he was too scared.

Scared term' synonym reflects dread as an emotion, although at different levels, such as:

  • Scared is related to frightened or terrified because it depicts how individuals feel like they did when the elevator stopped working.
  • Frightened indicates terrified or afraid.
  • Terrified is to be terrified or apprehensive.
  • Spooked implies to be shocked or alarmed suddenly, as if afraid.
  • For example, the film was quite disturbing. When I got home, the door swung open unexpectedly, giving me a start. Please don't frighten me any longer with the movie.

What Is Afraid?

The word 'afraid' is also used, and it literally means 'full of fear.' So picture a person who is so overcome with terror that they are unable to think of anything else. For instance, she is terrified of spiders. In this case, she despises spiders so much that she will go to any length to avoid them. A person might be terrified of anything, but it can also refer to deep hate. In English, for example, it is customary to say: He is frightened of hard labor; therefore, don't ask him to accomplish anything. The terms 'frightened' or 'terrified' might be used to suggest a heightened level of terror. While these words are synonyms for scared and 'afraid,' they can be used to indicate a more immediate or reactive dread. This refers to the kind of fear that causes a person to panic. For instance, she was terrified when you leaped out of the closet. She is afraid of water and refuses to enter the swimming pool.

The syntax for terrified and afraid differs as well, with 'by' as a preposition that usually follows scared, but using terrified in the same meaning makes no sense, as in The small kid was horrified by the bug, but you cannot be afraid of anything or objects. Although the terms terrified and scared are synonymous when used informally, using them interchangeably is incorrect linguistically.

Fear is expressed as an emotion in the term 'afraid,' but at different intensities, as in:

  • Scared is related to frightened or terrified because it depicts how individuals feel like they did when the elevator stopped working.
  • Frightened indicates terrified or afraid.
  • Terrified is to be terrified or apprehensive.
  • Spooked implies to be shocked or alarmed suddenly, as if afraid.

Most native English speakers employ the word 'afraid' after a verb rather than before a noun. I am terrified of something, not a fearful person. In contrast to the word terrified, the word terrified has a broader connotation. On one level, fearful may simply be translated as "frightened." Consider the following instances.

When used after describing a word, for example, afraid makes more sense;

  • The kids hiding in the house from thieves were afraid.
  • She is afraid of pests.
  • He is afraid of losing her.
  • Despite the phrase 'afraid,' the words can be followed by 'of' and 'ing' forms.
  • They were afraid of diving into a 10-foot swimming pool.

The position of afraid is usually used after a verb and not before a noun, such as:

  • She is afraid of him. (However, she is not a fearful lady.)
  • I am not afraid, to tell the truth.

Main Difference Between Scared And Afraid in Points

  • Grammatically, one might be terrified 'by' something but not fearful 'by' anything.
  • Scared is an inherently past tense version of frightening, whereas afraid is a neutral tense adjective.
  • Scared is pronounced 'skewed,' whilst afraid is pronounced 'uh fraud.'
  • Fearful synonyms include frightened, apprehensive, panicked, and intimidated, whereas horrified synonyms include horror-stricken, terrified, petrified, and frenzied.
  • The phrase 'scared' comes from the Old Norse skirrs 'frighten,' from skjarr 'timid,' whereas 'afraid' comes from the Anglo-Norman French term 'prayer.'
  • The primary distinction between terrified and afraid arises from the range of meaning that the terms encompass. To be more specific, the word terrified is frequently used to indicate dread, while the term fearful may also be used to express anxiety or regret.
  • When it comes to the syntax and usage of the words 'scared' and 'afraid,' note that while we may be 'scared by something, we cannot be 'afraid by anything.
  • Most native English speakers do not use 'afraid' before a word; instead, they use it after a verb. That is what I am terrified of, not who I am. 'Scared' can be used more organically in this way. For instance: I am terrified.
  • Thus, Afraid refers to a sensation of fear or trepidation, whereas Scared refers to being startled, shocked, or panicked.

Conclusion

While the words 'scared' and 'afraid' both describe the same emotion of dread, syntax, and use must be examined. The distinctions are minor, but knowing how to use these terms correctly can help you speak English that sounds more natural and native. In the English language, the terms terrified and fearful both express anxiety and worry, yet there is a distinction between them in some contexts. In cases where an individual intends to show dread, both terrified and afraid might be employed. Both of these words are interchangeable. The expressions "she is afraid" and "she is scared," for example, are equivalent. However, these words are not always interchangeable. While the two terms' meanings are identical, the syntax and use of the sentences differ. The adjective 'scared' refers to fear or anxiety. A fearful individual is concerned about something. Both terms are contested as to whether they may be used correctly in particular contexts or whether they are formal or informal. Some argue that fear is also used for circumstances with a longer duration rather than being scared and is also less formal.


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"Difference Between Scared and Afraid." Diffzy.com, 2022. Thu. 08 Dec. 2022. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-scared-and-afraid-958>.



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