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Dreaded and Scared: the difference

The English Language words dreaded and scared are similar, but different, as I will show using British English examples.

Someone is scared when they experience something scary. Scary things cause fear. This fear can be rational or irrational. 

An example of being scared irrationally is:
"I am scared of snakes when I visit the zoo."
I experience fear but I know it is an irrational fear.

Other examples include:
"I am scared of the dentist."
"My son is scared of the dark."

However it is perfectly correct to use the word scared when talking about real, rational fear.
"After the war started he was scared that his father would be hurt."

Dread means either a deep and intense, and normally rational, fear, or a reluctance to do something.

Examples of dread meaning a deep rational fear include:
"The thought of nuclear war is dreadful."
"I feel dread when I see the street kids carrying knives."
"In countries with poor healthcare facilities, even common diseases are dreaded."

When dread is used to mean a reluctance to do something it can be quite trivial:
"My son dreads going to school on the days he has gym."
"I dreaded having to tell my mother I was getting divorced."
In these examples the person is not exactly scared to do something, they just don't want to do it.

I hope this helps, email me with any questions martha@ukentry.com