Quick answer
"Dar miedo" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to scare", and "tener miedo" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be afraid". Learn more about the difference between "dar miedo" and "tener miedo" below.
dar miedo(
dahr
 
myeh
-
doh
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to cause fear to)
a. to scare
Esa montaña rusa me da miedo. No quiero subirme.That rollercoaster scares me. I don't want to ride it.
b. to frighten
El sonido de la artillería enemiga no le dio miedo a los soldados.The sound of the enemy artillery didn't frighten the soldiers.
c. to give the chills
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Esa casa abandonada me da miedo.That abandoned house gives me the chills.
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
2. (to cause fear)
a. to be scary
Ese thriller da miedo.That thriller is scary.
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tener miedo(
teh
-
nehr
 
myeh
-
doh
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (general)
a. to be afraid
Eugenio les tiene miedo a los payasos.Eugenio is afraid of clowns.
b. to be scared
Tenía demasiado miedo para ver los resultados de su prueba.She was too scared to look at her test results.
c. to be frightened
¿Por qué tiemblas? ¿Tienes miedo?Why are you shaking? Are you frightened?
d. to fear
No tengo miedo al futuro.I don't fear the future.
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