since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
ESL Downloads - click 4 FREE stuff

I'm afraid

This page is about the conversational phrase I'm afraid

Meaning

You can use this when saying something that might disappoint, upset or sadden someone.

For example

  • "We'd like a room for the night, please."
    "We're fully booked, I'm afraid."

  • "I'm afraid I've got some bad news. Your sister's been in an accident."

Note:
Also "I'm afraid that", but this can only be used at the start of a clause or sentence, as in "I'm afraid that I've got some bad news." You cannot say "We're fully booked, I'm afraid that."

Quick Quiz

My doctor said, "I'm afraid it's serious." He was telling me

a. my illness was serious

b. it wasn't too serious

c. he was frightened of it

Contributor: Matt Errey