Write Right: Anxious or Eager

Write RightThe other day, I read that someone was anxious to see Andrea Bocelli in concert. The word choice gave me pause. I only feel anxious when I have to see the dentist or the doctor. I do not feel anxious when I am going to see one of my favorite singers. I feel eager.

“Anxious” and “eager” often are used interchangeably, but the two words do not mean the same thing. They don’t even mean similar things. They are disparate.

To be “anxious” is to be nervous. It’s to feel unsettled, worried. It’s to twist a strand of hair or a ring or to bite one’s lip or to do whatever one does when visited by anxiety. The word “anxious” typically is followed by “about”: “I was anxious about seeing my doctor.”

To be “eager” is to be excited. It’s to look forward to something. It’s to feel anticipation. It’s to bounce up and down in excitement or to smile because one has dinner plans with a friend or a special someone. To be “eager” is to be the owner of some delicious secret. The word “eager” usually is followed by “to”: “I’m eager to see Circus de Soleil.”

“Eager” and “anxious,” then, aren’t to be used as synonyms. They aren’t synonyms. They mean different things; thus, they should be used accordingly.

Have a writing or grammar question? Let me know on Facebook or in a comment.


  1. John_Trader1 says:

    Thanks for dropping the knowledge EF. Always good to brush up on the proper use of grammar!

  2. FeldmanCreative says:

    Anxious not to f#$%- up my comment here at your blog. Eager to learn more about you.