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Feeling concern

Several people I know felt that this use of “concern” was correct: “She felt concern, but not enough to sacrifice...” I felt that it should be “concerned”. Two of them are professional writers, so I can’t argue much, but if “concern” is also correct, what is its function? Noun or adjective? If it’s a noun, shouldn’t it be “a concern”? If it’s an adjective, shouldn’t it be “concerned”? In dictionaries, “concern” is either a noun or a verb, not an adjective.

Oddly enough, the same people felt that “She felt scare” was clearly wrong. If “scare” is wrong and “scared” is correct, then shouldn’t the same hold true for “concern” and “concerned”?

On the web, I do see many people using “feel concern” although it is slightly less common than “feel concerned”.

  • September 13, 2006
  • Posted by Dyske
  • Filed in Grammar

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"To feel concern" is fine. To use your same analogical line of reasoning, we have "to feel fear". "Concern" is a feeling of being concerned.

dave September 14, 2006, 3:43am

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I guess my question comes down to whether it is correct by virtue of common usage or grammar (or both). If "I feel concern" is grammatically correct, is "I feel scare" also grammatically correct? (The only difference being that the latter is never used.) After all, "scare" is a feeling of fear, like "concern" is a feeling of being concerned.

The word "fear", however, functions quite differently from "concern". If I say, "I feel feared", the meaning changes from "I feel fear". It is no longer I who feel fear, but someone else fearing me.

Another similar example to "concern" is "worry". Would "I feel worry" be also correct?

Another interesting comparison is "trouble". If I say, "I feel trouble", it would mean that I feel that a problem is about to happen. If I say, "I feel troubled", it would mean that I am disturbed by something.

I think there is a similar connotation for "concern" as well. If I say, "I feel concern", there is a possibility that the "concern" isn't actually mine. I might be feeling the concern someone else is feeling, whereas "I feel concerned" has no ambiguity.

Do you feel that "I feel concern" and "I feel concerned" are both equally good? (One is not superior to the other?)

Dyske September 14, 2006, 5:37am

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concern is a noun as used, same sadness, happiness, or hunger. this usage is perfectly grammatical and fairly common. the other usage, feeling concerned is parallel to feeling hungry, tired, sad, and equally grammatical and common. one could make the nitpicky case that using a noun vs an adjective changes the meaning, but this one chooses not to.

Janet September 14, 2006, 6:30am

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Hi Janet,

Thank you for the clarification, but could you clarify one more thing?

Does that mean, "I feel scare" and "I feel worry" are both also grammatically correct?

Dyske September 14, 2006, 6:36am

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off the cuff, "I feel worry" seems right, but "I feel scare" feels wrong.

Nouns like scare require a definitive article, but worry and concern don't. Maybe that's the key.

jeffrey September 14, 2006, 11:19am

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It seems to me that you're comparing apples and oranges. "I feel worry" is fine because "worry" is a noun that describes a feeling. "I feel scare" is wrong because "scare" is not a noun that describes a feeling. One can receive a scare like one receives a letter, of course, but receiving a scare makes a person feel *fear*, not *scare*. The scare is the thing that causes the fear, not the fear itself. Both are nouns, but "scare" is a noun that describes a frightening event, "fear" is a noun that describes a feeling.

We have nothing to fear but scare itself! ;-)

CKA3KA September 14, 2006, 2:14pm

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Well, since he asked Janet, Janet will answer.

"I feel worry" is grammatically correct but nobody I know would say it. It doth not roll smoothly off the tongue, as it were. Automator is completely correct about "I feel scare." The noun you want there is fear: "I feel fear." And it is grammatically correct but hard for me to envision when a person would say "I feel fear" as opposed to "I feel scared" or just "I'm scared."

Janet September 15, 2006, 4:38am

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It is interesting that something that is grammatically correct would sound so wrong. This is the difficult part of learning a foreign language; even if you can construct a grammatically correct sentence, it may still sound very wrong.

For instance, someone might say, "Could you attach the painting against the wall?" instead of saying, "Could you hang the painting on the wall?" You get the point, but it sounds wrong, because we are so used to using the word "hang" for paintings. If you go to a foreign country, and if you literally translated "hang", it might actually sound silly in the language where paintings are seen as "attached" to the wall.

In other words, for every situation, we need to learn an appropriate way of phrasing it. This is the stuff that takes forever to learn.

I would guess that everyone used to say "I feel concerned" but over a long period of time, "ed" was dropped through common usage. It's sort of like how "ice cream" used to be "iced cream". For "iced tea" vs. "ice tea", we are still in the transition period where both are commonly used.

When we pronounce "scared" and "worried", the "ed" sound is quite strong. It is hard to miss hearing it. With "concerned", the "ed" is much subtler, and in many situations, we might not hear it at all even if the person meant to say "concerned". So, it is much more likely to be dropped. In this way, "I feel concern" became so common that it sounds perfectly correct, even though no one says "I feel worry" or "I feel scare". (According to my dictionary, "scare" is not only a cause of fear, but also the feeling itself; so it should be grammatically correct to say, "I feel scare," but we never say it.)

Dyske September 15, 2006, 6:38am

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and further, one might feel afeared, or afraid, as opposed to 'scare'.

woodstok September 15, 2006, 9:03pm

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Another phrase in transition: "corned beef" vs. "corn beef"

juttin September 16, 2006, 7:36am

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yoda would say i feel fear, i feel worry, and i feel concern

or actually: fear, feel i; worry, feel i; concern, feel i

daniel September 19, 2006, 11:43am

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Dyske, I think you're missing the point.
It is true that -ed is easily missed after -n-, however this is not the case in concerned.
'I feel concern' is using the noun, not the verb. 'I feel concerned' is using the verb. 'I feel worry' is using the noun, 'I feel worried' is using the verb. Hence 'I feel scare' is incorrect because, although there is a noun 'scare', it is not used in this context. There is no particular reason to it. It happens, in the same way that hanging and attaching is used, or not used in a language.
This topic has been killed, I just wanted to make sure that the reasoning came across.

wealtheow April 5, 2007, 12:27am

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Dyske, I think maybe you missed CKA3KA's point. You can't compare "I feel scare" to "I feel fear" even if both are nouns. Fear, when used as a noun describes an emotional state, but scare, as a noun, means the actual event that causes one to be scared. It does not mean the state of being scared. Your mistake is when you said "...After all, "scare" is a feeling of fear...". No, the noun scare is not a feeling of fear. It's not a feeling at all. If I may make an analogy, it's like trying to say "I feel hunger" is the same thing as "I feel food". By the way, "I feel scare" is not incorrect because of bad grammar, per se, it's just a non-sequitor.

porsche April 5, 2007, 8:49am

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Oh, sorry Dyske, I must have skipped over your parenthetical statement about your dictionary listing "scare" as a feeling as well. My dictionary actually does not have such a listing. I'd be curious to see the exact definition to which you refer.

porsche April 5, 2007, 9:03am

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I think scare can be used as a noun if you are thinking of it in a phrase such as: "Man, last night we had a real scare." Something happened last night to scare us. That's the best I can think of, but it makes sense to me. I also haven't checked the dictionary though.

vera July 9, 2008, 8:12am

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The "concern" in "Feeling concern" is an uncountable noun. Actually, "concern" can be either countable or uncountable. However, I usually use it as uncountable.

E.g. "I feel much concern about it!"

Dough January 27, 2009, 8:01pm

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Good time
can we say I am feeling BY concern
Is it a correct way of asking?

frhmo May 15, 2009, 3:13am

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i am concerned about what I been told and can and cannot do. from Social workers from Social services and friends and family and other friends I cannot say for good reason.
marry is been not every healthy and we live together in the same home sepuated bedroom.
met a good friend from my childhood get along every well and wanted to be able to stay in touch and cannot because they family
been in the pubic eye and not all that famous and since not to
matter and known to my family.

I understand it might sound a bit out of the strange to some people why I need to see her and what I want to do with my further plans and nothing gets done because we do not know how to go forward to make it all happen not over ambitous I am affaid and that isn't going to

Mrs Jane Allwork January 1, 2017, 11:14am

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