Results 1 to 8 of 8
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 566
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Usage of 'anxious'

    Greetings, Everyone,

    Could you please shed some light on the issue of the correct usage of the adjective 'anxious', as I seem to encounter some controversies whether it should only be used in the sense of 'uneasy', 'nervous', 'apprehensive' or meaning 'eager' or 'earnest', as well.

    In either case, what is the correct syntax? ...anxious to + verb... or is a clause (...anxious that...) also acceptable?

    Thank you very much in advance,

    Tomasz

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 18,884
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'

    The problem usage with "anxious" is when it is used as a synonym for "eager."

    There are those who insist it must carry a sense of unease.

    However, the third definition in the dictionary is "ardently or earnestly wishing" (Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online) and "eager" is listed as a synonym.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Switzerland

    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,676
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'

    The correct construction is "anxious about...," not "anxious to..."

    I'm not a teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Switzerland

    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,676
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 566
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'

    Thank you very much for the time taken to reply to my humble request.

    It looks like there's no definite verdict, though...

    Jasmin165: not really, if we assume 'anxious' meaning 'eager' is at least acceptable, the 'to + infinitive' syntax, such as "I'm so anxious to meet your ex..." is a VERY common structure

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'

    I wouldn't myself object to "anxious" + "to" + verb, e.g.

    1. Fanny was very anxious to be useful [Jane Austen]

    "Anxious that" is also fine:

    2. She is such a dear soul, and was so anxious that the baby should be a fine child [Dickens]

    (If you're "anxious to be useful", you're eager to be useful in a nervous, fluttery fashion; there is an underlying apprehension that you might be thwarted.)

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 23,258
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomasz Klimkiewicz View Post
    Thank you very much for the time taken to reply to my humble request.

    It looks like there's no definite verdict, though...

    Jasmin165: not really, if we assume 'anxious' meaning 'eager' is at least acceptable, the 'to + infinitive' syntax, such as "I'm so anxious to meet your ex..." is a VERY common structure
    I think 'anxious' still requires a feeling of unease.

    >1. Fanny was very anxious to be useful [Jane Austen]
    The thought that she might not be useful made Fanny feel anxious/uneasy.

    >2. She is such a dear soul, and was so anxious that the baby should be a fine child [Dickens]
    Thinking that the baby might not be a fine child made the dear soul feel anxious/uneasy.

    I think that under normal circumstances:
    >"I'm so anxious to meet your ex..."
    is hyperbolic/figurative - unless there is some reason the person would really be anxious if they didn't meet the ex.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 566
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: Usage of 'anxious'

    Mr. Pedantic, Raymott -> Thank you for your very interesting input, exactly the kind of response I had hoped to receive, a native speaker's feeling what it sounds like when 'anxious' is used in certain contexts, and also examples of the correct syntax. Much appreciated.

    Good to know a clause is also possible (like in "...anxious that...").


Similar Threads

  1. What sort of usage is this?
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Jan-2010, 17:20
  2. [General] the proper usage of the verb "visit"
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Jan-2009, 11:52
  3. anxious to do someting
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Nov-2008, 15:27
  4. Re: Usage of certain very common words
    By Dinesh Boudh in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Jun-2007, 22:23
  5. let me ask you about the article usage
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 19-Dec-2006, 11:24

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •