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2. Correct Usage of Confusingly Similar Words & Phrases - A

Afraid of Doing/Afraid to Do: To make the right choice here, you must first decide whether or not the fearing person has any choice about the feared event. Where there is no choice, of is always necessary after afraid: (a) People abandoned Covid patients because they were afraid of being infected. (b) Language learners will not speak if they are afraid of making a mistake. In (a), of being has to be used – not to be – because being infected is obviously an event that people close to Covid victims have no choice about. In (b), making mistake is unavoidable, suggesting an absence of choice and hence once again a need for of.

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