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Eager vs. Anxious

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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There are many ways to enrich your writing. One of the easiest ways is by using adjectives. Adjectives describe or modify nouns. You wouldn’t want to use too many adjectives, or you could potentially make your writing ostentatious or ornate. The words ostentatious and ornate above are adjectives. They describe a certain type of poor writing, and possibly provide an ironic example of such writing.

Anxious and eager are also adjectives. Both of these words describe a state of anticipation, but each should only be used in certain contexts. Continue reading to find out whether you should use eager or anxious to describe your feelings, depending on your perception of events that will happen in the future.


The word eager originated from Middle English (also in the sense ‘pungent, sour’): from Old French aigre ‘keen’, from Latin acer, acr- ‘sharp, pungent’. The word anxious originated in early 17th century: from Latin anxius (from angere ‘to choke’) + -ous.

Eager as adjective:

The word eager is used in English language as an adjective which means strongly wanting to do or have something.

The man was eager to please.

Eager also refers to a person's expression or tone of voice which is keenly expectant or interested.

Small eager faces looked up and listened to her voice.

Anxious as adjective:

Anxious is also used as adjective in English language where it means feeling or showing worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

She was extremely anxious about her exams.

Anxious also means to be very eager or concerned to do something or for something to happen.

The company was anxious to avoid any trouble.

Eager vs. Anxious


I am eager for this semester to be over, so I can relax.

The Hittites were eager for the Israelites to be out of their lands.

Once the team gained the lead, they were eager for the game to end.

Still, some entrepreneurs are eager to test out the new market. –The New York Times

Briony was anxious to learn how the judges scored her performance in the singing competition.

Bronwyn was anxious about having to walk home from the bar in the dark.

Baxter felt anxious about his fiancé’s family tasting his cooking.

Even by the standards of anxious sports fans, however, Babcock stands apart. –The Wall Street Journal

Eager or anxious:

Anxious and eager are both adjectives, and they both deal with expectations for the future. Anxious describes unease or concern. Eager describes excitement and positive anticipation. Since anxious is related to the word anxiety, remembering the proper usage case for this word should be a simple matter of remembering its meaning. In summary, eager describes a state of positive anticipation, but anxious describes negative anticipation. Rather than damage your credibility with a poor choice of words, be sure to check this site when you have questions about writing and difficult words.


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