I'm afraid

I'm afraid

I'm sorry to say. Used to politely introduce or soften a statement that may be unpleasant, upsetting, or disappointing. I'm afraid that your application has been rejected due to a failure to provide adequate documentation. I was hoping I'd be there in time to see the performance, but they canceled my flight because of the snow, I'm afraid.
See also: afraid

I’m afraid (that)...

(spoken) used as a polite way of telling somebody something that is unpleasant or disappointing, or something that you are sorry about: I’m afraid I can’t come to your party.‘Have you got change for ten pounds?’ ‘I’m afraid not.’I’ve got some bad news, I’m afraid.‘Is this the best you can do?’ ‘I’m afraid so.’
References in classic literature ?
He felt that if they had both not kept up appearances, but had spoken, as it is called, from the heart--that is to say, had said only just what they were thinking and feeling--they would simply have looked into each other's faces, and Konstantin could only have said, "You're dying, you're dying," and Nikolay could only have answered, "I know I'm dying, but I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!" And they could have said nothing more, if they had said only what was in their hearts.
I'd send a messenger to the King only I'm afraid they'd kill him.
and then you know, Andre..." (she looked significantly at her husband) "I'm afraid, I'm afraid!" she whispered, and a shudder ran down her back.
"I'm afraid, Guph," he said rather anxiously, "that the First and Foremost may prove as dangerous to us as to the Oz people.
'I'm afraid I can't quite remember it,' Alice said very politely.
I tell you what, Ned, I'm afraid it hasn't been all right with Reuben.
If not, I'm afraid I can offer him no better explanation; and in fact I am all impatience to open my knapsack, and inform myself of the name of her to the discovery of whom my wanderings are henceforth to be devoted.
"It can't do any harm, anyhow," said Peter, "but I'm afraid you've left it too late.
'I'm afraid you've rung a good many times perhaps,' she rejoined,
"I'm afraid of everything here, afraid that Thomson will come back and take you away, afraid of all sorts of hideous things happening during the next few months."
But it seems as if part of me was buried over there in that little harbor graveyard-- and it hurts so much that I'm afraid of life."
Chilton better, and I'm afraid he'd feel hurt if I didn't have him.
They don't teach you things at school that are much use in business, I'm afraid." He considered for a moment.
I'm afraid I must be very dull; but I really do not understand."
That was a rough tumble, and I'm afraid you must be damaged somewhere," answered the Doctor, full of fond anxiety, as he surveyed his girl with pride.