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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    Im afraid

    Whats the difference between I hate to break it to you, but you..... and Im afraid you.....?
    Last edited by beachboy; 25-Jun-2009 at 19:51.

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    #2

    Re: Im afraid

    The first is simply more of a hedge, or softening, device. It's meaningless, of course. No one who says that really hates to break it. In fact, they probably delight in breaking it. "I hate to break it to you, but your girlfriend is playing around behind your back."

    You can tell it's sarcastic, because if it's genuine, you would never use it. You would never say, "I hate to break it to you, but your son was just killed in an auto accident."

    I'm afraid you... is more direct. As in, "I'm afraid you misunderstood my intentions." The "afraid" has nothing to do with fear, in the sense of impending harm; it's just a polite way of announcing a difference of opinion or perception.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Im afraid

    Sometimes "I hate to break it to you..." can be used in a humorous way. For example, you're at a party and the host is showing slides of his recent vacation. You're very bored and mutter to the person next to you, "I can't wait until the real entertainment begins." He replies, "I hate to break it to you, but this is the entertainment. He has 1,500 more slides to show."

    Usually "I'm afraid" is only used when delivering genuinely sad or bad or unwelcome news.

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