I hope that this is useful to you.Dear teachers,
Would you be kind enough to explain to me in plain English the difference between the following sentences?
1.1. I am afraid of waking her.
Ordinarily I would use this if someone were sleeping and I was trying to be quiet so that I wouldn't wake her up. If I were to wake her up, it would be unintentional.
1.2. I am afraid to wake her.
In this situation I am considering intentionally waking her up. I am afraid of what would happen were I to do so.
2.1. I am afraid of asking her.
I don't believe that this sentence makes sense, although if I heard you say it I would assume you meant it in the same way as sentence 2.2. It is not the same as the first sentence (1.1), since it doesn't make sense to be unintentionally asking her something. In practice I think that everyone would understand what you mean -- and probably not even think it sounds strange -- but it doesn't make much sense to say it in this way.
2.2 I am afraid to ask her.
In this situation I am considering actually asking her something. I realize that I am afraid to do so.
Thank you for your efforts.
- For Teachers