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Avoir peur de = To be afraid/scared of

To express being scared in French, we can use the expression avoir peur de.

Look at these examples:

Elle a peur des araignées
She is scared of spiders

J'ai peur de tomber.
I'm scared of falling

Je ne sais pas pourquoi j'ai peur de lui.
I don't know why I'm scared of him.

Note that the French expression uses avoir (literally "to have fear of"), whereas in English we would use to be afraid.

Here are the different ways to use the expression avoir peur de :

- Avoir peur de [quelque chose/quelqu'un] = To be scared of [something/someone]

Elle a peur de M.Potier.
She's scared of Mr Potier.

Il a peur d'Arthur.
He is afraid of Arthur.

Tu as peur du noir?
Are you afraid of the dark?

Ils ont peur de la méchante sorcière.
They are scared of the wicked witch.

Mon chien a peur de l'orage.
My dog is scared of thunder.

Mon frère a peur des chiens.
My brother is scared of dogs.

Note that de + le, la, l', les (= of the) follows the contraction rule of de: du, de la, de l', des.

 

Avoir peur de [faire quelque chose] To be scared of [doing something]

J'ai peur de me perdre.
I'm scared of getting lost.

Vous avez peur d'échouer.
You are afraid to fail.

Ils ont peur de prendre le train tous seuls.
They are scared of taking the train on their own.

 

Note that avoir peur de is followed by the infinitive of the verb, unlike -ing in English.

 

Avoir peur de [moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles] To be scared of [me, you, him, her, us, you, them]

Tu as toujours peur de moi.
You're always scared of me.

Mathieu a peur de toi.
Mathieu is scared of you.

Nos voisins ? Nous avons souvent peur d'eux.
Our neighbours? We are often scared of them.

 

Note that in this case, avoir peur de is followed by a stress pronoun.
See also Moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles (advanced stress pronouns)
 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Mon chien a peur de l'orage.
My dog is scared of thunder.


Elle a peur de M.Potier.
She's scared of Mr Potier.


J'ai peur d'être malade.
I'm scared to be sick.


Mathieu a peur de toi.
Mathieu is scared of you.


Elle a peur des araignées
She is scared of spiders


Nos voisins ? Nous avons souvent peur d'eux.
Our neighbours? We are often scared of them.


J'ai peur de tomber.
I'm scared of falling


Ils ont peur de prendre le train tous seuls.
They are scared of taking the train on their own.


Tu as peur du noir?
Are you afraid of the dark?


Je ne sais pas pourquoi j'ai peur de lui.
I don't know why I'm scared of him.


Vous avez peur d'échouer.
You are afraid to fail.


J'ai peur de me perdre.
I'm scared of getting lost.


Tu as toujours peur de moi.
You're always scared of me.


Il a peur d'Arthur.
He is afraid of Arthur.


Mon frère a peur des chiens.
My brother is scared of dogs.


Ils ont peur de la méchante sorcière.
They are scared of the wicked witch.


Q&A

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

17 April 2018

2 replies

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

17 April 2018

17/04/18

Stupid glitchy comment limits. My question was, are you ever allowed to use je suis terrifié or use effraye as an adjective (enfant effrayé)?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

18 April 2018

18/04/18

Both are possible and very close synonyms, in my understanding.


Je suis terrifié. -- I am terrified.
L'enfant était effrayé. -- The child was frightened.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Clever stuff underway!