UNIT 64. To … (afraid to do) and Preposition + -ing (afraid of -ing)

Australia-27 grammar


Afraid to (do) and afraid of (do) ing

I am afraid to do something = I don’t want to do it because it is dangerous or the result could be bad.
We use afraid to do for things we do intentionally; we can choose to do them or not:
– This part of town is dangerous. People are afraid to walk here at night.
(= they don’t want to walk here because it is dangerous – so they don’t)

  • James was afraid to tell his parents what happened.
    (= he didn’t want to tell them because he knew they would be angry/worried, etc.)

I am afraid of something happening = it is possible that something bad will happen (for example, an accident).
We do not use afraid of -ing for things we do intentionally:
– The sidewalk was icy, so we walked very carefully. We were afraid of falling.
(= it was possible that we would fall – not we were afraid to fall)

  • I don’t like dogs. I’m always afraid of being bitten. (not afraid to be bitten)

So, you are afraid to do something because you are afraid of something happening as a result:
– I was afraid to go near the dog because I was afraid of being bitten.


Interested in (do)ing and interested to (do)

I’m interested in doing something = I’m thinking of doing it. I would like to do it:
– Let me know if you’re interested in joining the club. (not to join)
– I tried to sell my car, but nobody was interested in buying it. (not to buy)

We use interested to … to say how somebody reacts to what they hear/see/read/learn/know/find.
For example, “I was interested to hear it” = I heard it and it was interesting for me:
– I was interested to hear that Tanya quit her job.
– Ask Mike for his opinion. I would be interested to know what he thinks.
(= it would be interesting for me to know it)

This structure the same as surprised to .. / glad to …,. etc. (see Unit 63C):
– I was surprised to hear that Tanya quit her job.


Sorry to (do) and sorry for / about (do)ing

We use sorry to … to say we regret something that happens (see Unit 63C)
– I was sorry to hear that Nicky lost her job. (= I was sorry when I heart that …)
– I’ve enjoyed my stay here. I’ll be sorry to leave.

We also say sorry to … to apologize at the time we do something.
– I’m sorry to call you so late, but I need to ask you something.

You can use sorry for or sorry about to apologize for something you did before:
– I’m sorry for (or about) shouting at you yesterday. (not sorry to shout)

You can also say:
– I’m sorry I shouted at you yesterday.


We say:

I want to (do) / I’d like to (do) but I’m thinking of (doing) / I dream of (doing)
I failed to (do) but I succeeded in (doing)
I allowed them to (do) but I stopped / prevented them from (doing)