I have fear vs. I am afraid

B1- B1 B2 C1

WRONG: I have fear of dogs.
RIGHT: I am afraid of dogs.

This week’s mistake focuses on the Czech tendency to use the verb ‘have’ with a noun, instead of using the verb ‘be’ with an adjective. Let me explain.

In English, we say ‘I am hungry’ whereas you say, ‘I have hunger.’ Similarly, English people say, ‘I am thirsty’ whereas Czech people say, ‘I have thirst.’

But these are perhaps the more well-known examples. A less corrected one concerns the notion of fear.

To say, ‘I have fear’ sounds so dramatic to us English people. It is also wrong. We do not use this phrase. Instead, we would say, ‘I am afraid’, or to use a slightly more extreme word, ‘scared,’ or even more extreme word, ‘terrified.’ So, for example, a conversation between two non-dog lovers might go:

A: I am afraid of dogs.

B: Afraid? I am terrified of them!