Common Mistakes : Anxious – Nervous – Worried

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Common Mistakes

Common Mistakes : Anxious / Nervous / Worried

 

Anxious

BAD: I always feel anxious when I have to make a speech

GOOD: I always feel nervous when I have to make a speech

Anxious = worried because you fear that something bad may happen or may have happened: ‘Their daughter hadn’t come home from school and they were anxious about her safety.’ ‘I knew it was just a minor operation, but I couldn’t help feeling anxious

 

Nervous

Nervous = worried because you are in or about to enter a stressful situation: ‘I was so nervous about the exam that I couldn’t sleep.’ ‘It was our first television appearance and we were all feeling nervous

BAD: She is anxious that the hotel rates will be too expensive

GOOD: She is worried that the hotel rates will be too expensive

BAD: I was anxious that somebody would see us through the window

GOOD: I was worried that somebody would see us through the window

 

Worried

Worried = unhappy because you have (or expect that you are going to have) a problem: The business is losing money and the boss is very worried

BAD: He obviously isn’t anxious about public opinion

GOOD: He obviously isn’t worried about public opinion

Not worried/concerned/bothered about sth = feeling that something is not a problem: ‘I’m not bothered about how much it will cost

 

Note the alternative: ‘He obviously doesn’t care about public opinion

 

BAD: I’m anxious to hear about your new boyfriend

GOOD: I can’t wait to hear about your new boyfriend

BAD: I am anxious to see how British people celebrate Christmas

GOOD: I am longing to see how British people celebrate Christmas

If you are anxious to do something, you want to do it in order to improve a (difficult or unpleasant) situation: ‘We are anxious that people are informed of the truth of the matter.’ ‘The police are anxious to speak to anyone who witnessed the accident

If you simply have a strong desire to do something, you are keen/eager/longing/dying to do it, or you cannot wait to do it: ‘I can’t wait to get out of these wet clothes

BAD: Most unemployed people are anxious for finding work

GOOD: Most unemployed people are anxious to find work

anxious to do sth (NOT for doing ): He was anxious to gain approval

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