Dread: Talking about Things We Dislike Doing

  How do you feel about going to the dentist?

If you’re like me, you dread it. Dread is the opposite of look forward to. We dread activities that we dislike. Dread is followed by a noun or by something that acts like a noun, such as a gerund or a noun clause.
  • I dread the dentist.
  • I dread having my teeth cleaned.
  • I dread how loud the dentist’s drill is

 How do you feel about tests?

  • Most students dread tests.
  • They dread studying.
  • They dread how difficult tests are.

Here are some other words/idiomatic expressions that you can use to express dread.

You can use adverbs like reluctantly or unwillingly.

  • I go to the dentist reluctantly. I get my teeth cleaned unwillingly.
  • Students take tests reluctantly. They often study unwillingly.

You can also use idioms like: bite the bullet and drag (one’s) heels.

Drag (one’s) heels means delay until the last moment. Bite the bullet means do something only because you must (even though you really don’t want to).
  • Because I dislike going to the dentist so much, I drag my heels about making a dentist’s appointment. After a couple of years have passed, I finally bite the bullet and go.
  • Students drag their heels about reviewing for exams, but the night before the exam, they must bite the bullet and study if they don’t want to fail.

Try it yourself!

  • What do you dread?
  • What do you do reluctantly or unwillingly?
  • When do you drag your heels?
  • When do you bite the bullet but do it anyway?

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