Talking About Fear in English

There are many words and expressions in English for talking about fear.


afraid: “Are you afraid of the dark?”
frightened: “I’m frightened of spiders.”
scared: “He’s scared of making mistakes.”
feel uneasy: “I felt a bit uneasy when I walked home in the dark.”
spooked: “My cats are easily spooked before a thunderstorm.”
terrified: “She was absolutely terrified when she heard the noise.”
petrified: “The building began to shake and we were all petrified.”


a terrifying ordeal
send shivers down my spine
give me goosebumps (goosebumps are when you skin has little bumps on it)
make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up (dogs also do this when they are scared)
scare the hell out of me
be scared shitless / shit scared (British slang – vulgar)
be bricking it (British slang – vulgar)
frighten the life out of me
shake with fear
jump out of my skin

Examples of how to talk about fear in English

One of the best horror films I have seen is “The Blair Witch Project”. It tells the story of a terrifying ordeal in the woods of northern USA. Some of the scenes in the film sent shivers down my spine, especially the one when the students run out of the tent in the middle of the night. When they go back, one of the guy’s rucksack has been emptied. When that same guy goes missing the next day, it gives you goosebumps.

There are some fabulous sound effects, especially the ones of the wind blowing and howling. When you hear the crying voices at the end of the film, it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Perhaps the scariest part of the film is at the end, when you see one of the surviving students literally shake with fear in the corner of the basement. It certainly frightened the life out of the girl when she saw him, and I jumped out of my skin at the end when the camera stopped filming. The film scared the hell out of me for weeks afterwards, and I’m ashamed to say that I wouldn’t go into an empty room in the house unless there was someone there with me.