Unit 65. to… (afraid to do) and preposition + ~ing (afraid of ~ing) – grammar in use

A.
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:
* A lot of people are afraid to go out at night. (= they don’t want to go out because it is dangerous – so they don’t go out)
* He was afraid to tell his parents about the broken window. (= he didn’t want to tell them because he knew they would be angry)
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 path 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.

B.
Interested in (do)ing and interested to (do)
I’m interested in doing something = I’m thinking of doing it, I’d like to do it:
* I’m trying to sell my car but nobody is interested in buying it. (not ‘to buy’)
We use interested to especially with hear/see/know/read/learn. I was interested to hear it = ‘I heard it and it was interesting for me’:
* I was interested to hear that Diane has got a new job.
* Ask George for his opinion. I would be interested to know what he thinks. (=it would be interesting for me to know)
This structure is the same as surprised to/delighted to… etc. (see Unit 64C):
* I was surprised to hear that Diane has got a new job.

C.
Sorry to (do) and sorry for (do)ing
We usually say sorry to… to apologize when (or just before) we do something:
* I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to talk to you.
We use sorry to (hear/read etc.) to show sympathy with somebody (see Unit 64C):
* I was sorry to hear that Fiona lost her job. (= I was sorry when I heard…)
You can use sorry for (doing something) to apologize for something you did before:
* (I’m) sorry for shouting at you yesterday. (not ‘Sorry to shout…’)
You can also say:
* (I’m) sorry I shouted at you yesterday.

D.
Note that we say:
I want to (do)/I’d like to (do) but I’m thinking of (do)ing/I dream of (do)ing
I failed to (do) but I succeeded in (do)ing
I allowed them to (do) but I prevented them from (do)ing
For examples, see Units 53-54 and 61.



Unit 65. to… (afraid to do) and preposition + ~ing (afraid of ~ing) – grammar in use