Expressing concern with "kongpa"
恐怕 (kǒngpà) can be used to express "I'm afraid that," or "I'm concerned that," or even "I'm worried that," followed by some sort of reason. It doesn't need to be something you're literally afraid of; it may be that you're just trying to soften the blow of some bad news, as in, "I'm afraid that I'm too busy washing my hair tomorrow night to come over and see the 2000 pictures of your trip to ComicCon."
恐怕 comes at the beginning of the sentence. It's often used with auxiliary verbs such as 要, 会, 能, 得, etc.
(Reason,) 恐怕 + Subj. ⋯⋯
Note that it sounds better to put 恐怕 before the subject of the sentence.
- 今天 恐怕 要 下雨 。I'm afraid it's going to rain today.
- 这 件 事 恐怕 得 你 帮忙 。I'm afraid we're going to need your help with this matter.
- 这样 做 恐怕 不太 合适 。I'm afraid it's not appropriate to do this.
- 这 是 很 重要 的 决定 ，你 恐怕 不 能 这么 着急 。This is an important decision. I'm afraid you can't rush this one.
- 老婆 ，我 晚上 要 加班 ，恐怕 不 能 回家 吃 晚饭 了 。Dear, I'm going to work late tonight. I'm afraid I can't go home to eat dinner.
- 这个 颜色 太 粉 了 ，恐怕 我女儿 不 喜欢 。This pink is too much. I'm afraid my daughter isn't going to like it.
- 你 现在 知道 被 骗 了 ？恐怕 骗子 早就 跑了 。You finally realized that you were ripped off? I'm afraid the scammer is long gone.
恐怕 is also often used in conjunction with 吧. When it is used with 吧, it expresses a soft but concerned tone and is typically used when the speaker wishes to give their advice or opinion on a matter.
- 恐怕 没 那么 容易 吧 。I'm afraid it's not that easy.
- 一个人 去 那个 地方 恐怕 不太 安全 吧 。I'm afraid it's not safe to go there alone.
- 你 这样 说 ，恐怕 她 会 不 高兴 吧 。If you put it that way, I'm afraid she will be upset.
- "Would like to" with xiang
- Wanting to do something with yao
- Auxiliary verb
- Auxiliary verb "hui" for "will"
Sources and further reading
- Yoyo Chinese: "Have to and Don't have to"
- HSK Standard Course 4下 (pp. 76) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (pp. 164-5) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课下册） (pp. 301) [ →buy]