Hey, everyone. Hoje eu falo sobre jeitos diferentes de se dizer “infelizmente” ou “infelizmente, não” em inglês.
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So if you’re listening to this podcast you probably know the word ‘afraid’ and the term “to be afraid” or “to be afraid of”. To be afraid means to be fearful, to be scared of something. What are you afraid of? Ghosts? Bugs? Are you afraid of the dark?
By the way, since I mentioned being afraid of ghosts, let me tell you about something that happened to me the night before Christmas, the 24th of December, 2013. I was already living in London in a house that I shared with four other people. Everyone had gone away for the holidays. I was going to fly to Brazil the next day, which was Christmas day.
Anyway, all I remember is that I was pretty tired that night and I could tell that a storm was starting to build. The wind was blowing hard outside. It was around eight in the evening and I was in the kitchen fixing myself something to eat. Now, this was a three-story house with lots of doors and windows and, I swear to you, that night I understood why ghost stories are so popular in the United Kingdom. I could swear there was someone on the third floor slamming the doors – I mean, I’m sure it was just the wind but it really did sound like it was a person and if memory serves, I thought I heard a few steps. I was lucky though – I was knackered that night and couldn’t be bothered to even be afraid of a ghost roaming around.
OK, so after this little story let’s move on to the expression “I’m afraid so“. When someone asks you “Is it going to rain today?” and you answer “I’m afraid so”, you are basically saying “Yes”, but you’re also communicating that you regret having to inform them that it is going to rain. If you answer “I’m afraid so”, or simply “Afraid so”, rather than just “Yeah”, that adds a touch of “sorry to say that, I know you were expecting otherwise.” That person was expecting clear, dry weather for today. Maybe they would like to go to the beach, maybe they were planning on taking their dog out for a long walk. So you’re giving them the not-so-good news that it’s going to rain.
Did I flunk the exam? I’m afraid so. Are we lost? Afraid so. Are they out of ice cream? Afraid so. Does my hair look awful? I’m afraid so.
Naturally, we can also say I’m afraid not with the opposite meaning. Is it gonna be sunny tomorrow? Afraid not. By the way, I remember hearing this on those little afternoon movies from “Sessão da Tarde” – I think they used to translate “I’m afraid not” as “Temo que não.” I don’t think anyone actually says that in Brazil, at least not informally. I guess what we do is use “Infelizmente.” Also, I wanted to stress that “I’m afraid so” and “I ‘m afraid not” are used all the time, whether it’s a formal or informal conversation.
“Did I get the job?” I’m afraid not. Has Mary called? Afraid not. Are the seats at the theatre any good? Afraid not. Do you have good news? I’m afraid not. So, did Brazil win the World Cup after all? I’m afraid not.
So, come on – tell me where in your life you could use these little expressions. Are you about to deliver unpleasant news to someone? Let me know in the comments, and talk to you next time!
if memory serves = se eu me lembro corretamente
knackered = exausta, acabada (gíria no Reino Unido)
couldn’t be bothered = nem me dei ao trabalho de
expecting otherwise = esperando algo diferente
flunk an exam = tomar bomba na prova, não tirar a nota mínima