415 - おそれがある

JLPT N3: おそれがある (there is a fear that)

Guess what? This is one of the kanji that means "fear:"

It shows up in these words:

恐れ(おそれ // fear; horror; anxiety; concern
恐れる(おそれる // to fear; to be afraid of
恐れがある(おそれがある // to be in danger of; to be liable to

Quick! Memorize them.

In doing so, you may notice that the third of these is not really a word, but rather a phrase.

In fact, it's the grammar point for this lesson!

Literally meaning "there is a fear," おそれがある is used to say that something bad could happen.

In other words, it's like the word "possibly" in English, but it's only used for negative things. Also, it is a formal expression used for serious things (e.g. in news reports).

You can write it using the kanji or only in hiragana; whatever your preference is.

It works like this:

BAD THING + おそれがある
it is possible that BAD THING
→ BAD THING might happen
there is a fear of BAD THING
is in danger of BAD THING

As you can see, there are quite a few ways that this can be translated into English in a sentence. We'll see a variety of examples in this lesson.

But first....


Lesson Vocabulary

Verbs:
縮める(ちぢめる // to shorten; to reduce; to shrink
起こる(おこる // to happen; to occur

Nouns:
絶滅(ぜつめつ // extinction; destruction
再発(いはつ // return; relapse [e.g. of a disease]


Grammar Construction

V るおそれがある
N + の おそれがある

縮めるおそれありますthere is a fear of s.t. shortening
起こるおそれがありますthere is a fear of s.t. occurring
絶滅のおそれがあるthere is a fear of extinction
再発のおそれありませんthere is no fear of a relapse

Note #1: That "s.t." means "something."

Note #2: I say V る, but note that the verb before おそれがある will always be in the plain present tense.

Note #3: See that last item in the list? We don't always have to have が before our ある verb. Sometimes we can use は instead (mastering when will take some time/practice...sorry). Also, sometimes the verb ある will be negative (e.g. ない / ありません).

Ready for some examples or what?


過度な飲酒は寿命を縮めるおそれがあります
かどな いんしゅ は じゅみょう を ちぢめる おそれがあります。
Excessive consumption of alcohol can shorten one’s lifespan.
Literally: “excessive + alcohol consumption + は + lifespan + を + shorten / reduce + fear + が + there is.”


この豪雨によって、土砂崩れなどの二次災害が起こるおそれがあります
この ごうう によって、 どしゃくずれ など の にじさいがい が おこる おそれがあります。
Due to the heavy rain, there is the possibility of additional disasters such as landslides.
Literally: “this + heavy rain + due to, + landslide + and such + の + secondary + disaster + が + happen + fear + が + there is.”


手術が成功すれば、再発のおそれほとんどありません
しゅじゅつ が せいこう すれば、 さいはつ の おそれ は ほとんど ありません。
If the surgery is successful, then there is almost no fear of the problem returning.
Literally: “surgery + が + success + if does, + return / relapse + の + fear + は + mostly + there is not.”
Note: Depending on the context, the word “problem” might be something like “cancer.”


マウンテンゴリラやスマトラトラは、近い将来絶滅のおそれがあると言われている。
マウンテンゴリラ や スマトラトラ は、 ちかい しょうらい ぜつめつ の おそれがある と いわれている。
It is said that animals such as mountain gorillas and Sumatran tigers are in danger of going extinct in the near future.
Literally: “mountain gorillas + や + Sumatran tigers + は, + near + future + extinction + の + fear + が + there is + と + is it being said.”


That's all for this one. It's a pretty straightforward grammar point, I think.

Still, you may want to go over it a few times. If you're like me and you don't give bad news in formal situations very often, you might find that you don't get many chances to use おそれがある.




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