Is this sentence correct?

I am afraid not of preparing for the exam but of the result.

Or is there some other way to write that sentence?

  • 1
    Why would you think it isn't "correct"? Why are you looking for "other way"? By the way, "OR there is other way to write this sentence." is what needs correction, have you noticed that?
    – Kris
    Dec 25, 2012 at 5:13
  • 1
    Your question”s title somewhat confuses me. Are you trying to understand what sentences like “I’m afraid not”, or of the sentence you have yourself posed, wherein “afraid not” is a simple and non-idiomatic collocation.
    – tchrist
    Dec 25, 2012 at 5:30
  • I guess it has something to do with fronting
    – midnight
    Dec 25, 2012 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


What you have written is certainly correct (well, given the insertion of the), but it might sound somewhat literary to some folks. Compare these:

  1. I am afraid — not of preparing for the exam, but of the result.
  2. I am not so much afraid of preparing for the exam as I am of the result.
  3. I am not afraid of preparing for the exam, but of the result.
  4. I’m not afraid of preparing for the exam; I’m afraid of the result.

The first differs from yours mainly in punctuation and cadence.

  • OP's example is an incorrect usage of the phrase afraid not -- if there's such a thing. (Andrew: Will you be there when I get there? Bill: Afraid not. -- McGraw-Hill) The word set "afraid, not" is not quite relevant here.
    – Kris
    Dec 25, 2012 at 5:19
  • @Kris What you have is a different sort of afraid not than the OP used. Surely there is nothing amiss with saying “I am afraid not of X but of Y”, eh?
    – tchrist
    Dec 25, 2012 at 5:21
  • That usage needs a punctuation, the idiom doesn't.
    – Kris
    Dec 25, 2012 at 5:22
  • @Kris Punctuation is not a count noun, so there is no such thing as “a” punctuation. But just which particular mark of punctuation were you thinking of, pray tell? Perhaps a comma?
    – tchrist
    Dec 25, 2012 at 5:25
  • @tchrist thank you for the explanation.But,I have just one doubt-My sentence may sound literary to some folks,I agree but is it grammatically correct? Jan 2, 2013 at 18:04

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