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Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t know the meaning of the word afraid? If so and if you are living in an English-speaking country then you should be afraid of the consequences of being so ignorant.

Then again, if you don’t know the meaning of the word afraid then you probably aren’t literate enough to read this. So, never mind.

Afraid means full of fear. I doubt that helps people who don’t understand the word afraid, but I gave it a shot.

Maybe an example will help. If you’re alone and unarmed on an otherwise deserted savannah and a lion that hasn’t eaten in days is looking at you with a very lean and hungry look, it would be human nature to be afraid. The good news is that you will probably be afraid for only a very little while. Then you’ll be dead and eaten.

For some reason that escapes me, people often use the word afraid to mean regret. This seems silly to me, but I nonetheless catch myself doing it from time to time.

For example, you might say to a friend, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to attend your stupid little party because I always find your gatherings to be the most boring events imaginable.”

One word of advice: If you want to keep that person as a friend, you might want to consider omitting the adjective stupid and not mentioning your reason for not attending. Instead, if, for some reason, you feel the need to use the word afraid, just say, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to attend your party,” and hope that he or she doesn’t ask you why. It might be a good idea to have a ready-made lie handy in case he or she does ask for a reason.

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