Be afraid, be very afraid

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2007, 12:00am

What makes you afraid? Does your heart beat faster and do your hands get sweaty when you're alone in the dark? We all get scared sometimes and there's very little we can do about it. Some people even enjoy being a little scared and pay money to watch horror movies or go on roller-coaster rides. Let's face a few fears ...

Favourite phobias

Did you know that the word arachnophobia means a fear of spiders? Or that hydrophobia is a fear of water? There are hundreds of words in the English language that end in 'phobia' and they all mean a fear of something or another. There are words for the fear of heights, enclosed spaces, flying and blood. But there are also words for the fear of numbers, of bees and stepmothers! The list is endless. All these words come from the Greek word phobia which means fear or hatred. Perhaps you could make up your own phobia word. Voldermortphobia would be (obviously) the fear of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Mrschanphobia would be the fear of Mrs Chan (your maths teacher)!

Fred's frightened friends

Fred's friends are a frightened lot. Look at all the things they are afraid of. Can you work out or guess their fears?

1 Would you believe Peter has never been to the top of the Peak? He suffers from acrophobia.

a) fear of flying

b) fear of heights

2 Mandy will never go outside if there is a storm. She suffers from astraphobia.

a) fear of horses

b) fear of lightning

3.Cindy is having a big problem with her boyfriend. He suffers from gamophobia.

a) fear of buying presents

b) fear of getting married

4 Pip has hydrophobia. He won't go near a swimming pool or the sea.

a) fear of clothing

b) fear of water

5 Cindy won't leave her flat after six at night. She suffers from noctiphobia.

a) fear of sunshine

b) fear of night

6 Madge is terrified of barbecues.

I think she suffers from pyrophobia.

a) fear of fire

b) fear of people

Degrees of fear

Just how afraid are you of something? If you are ANXIOUS (*) or WORRIED (*), you are just a bit afraid. If you are FRIGHTENED (**) or SCARED (**), you are seriously afraid. And if you are PETRIFIED (***) or TERRIFIED (***) you can't move because you are so afraid of what you are facing!

Take out AFRAID from these sentences and put in a more exact adjective.

1 I feel afraid (*) every time I have to stand up and speak in class.

2 Don't ever take me to see a movie like that again! I was afraid (***) from beginning to end.

3 When all the lights went out, I was really afraid (**).

4 She always has to take the stairs. It's a nuisance but she's afraid (***) of lifts.

5 Why are you afraid (**) of Judith's dog? It's a soft old thing and would never hurt anyone.

6 I'm always afraid (*) when I start a new job.

Mixed up fears

Here are anagrams of things that some people are genuinely afraid of. Can you sort out the muddled-up letters?

1. S - S - N - I - T - E - C

( I ___ ___E___ ___S)

2. S - T - H - G - E - I - H

( H ___ ___G ___ ___ __)

3. T - O - G - S - S - H

( G ___ ___ ___T ___ )

4. S - E - R - A - K - N - D - S

( D A ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ )

5. R - P - I - E - S - D - S

( S P ___ ___ ___ ___ )

6. N - X - A - I - T - I - E - M - N- A - O - S

( E X___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ )


Fred's frightened friends

1b / 2b / 3b / 4b / 5b / 6a

Degrees of fear

1. anxious / worried

2. petrified / terrified

3. scared / frightened

4. terrified / pertified

5. scared / frightened

6. worried / anxious

Mixed up fears

Insects / heights / ghosts / darkness / spiders / examinations