Difference Between Anxious and Eager

Key Difference – Anxious vs Eager

Although some of us use the two adjectives anxious and eager interchangeability, there is a definite difference between anxious and eager. Anxious should be used when a person is worried or uneasy about an anticipated event. Eager is characterized by enthusiastic or impatient desire or keen interest. Thus, the key difference between anxious and eager is that eager refers to keen interest and enthusiasm whereas anxious is marked by unease and nervousness.

What Does Anxious Mean?

Anxious refers to showing worry, nervousness, fear, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. This word is generally used when someone is very concerned about something. At the same time, anxious can sometimes be used to indicate your interest and eagerness in something as well. But this eagerness is usually driven by your nervousness and unease. For example, you might be anxious to see your test results; you might be eager to see the results, but at the same time, you might be worried about obtaining low marks.

The following examples will help you to understand the usage of this adjective in a sentence.

The children were excited about the school trip, but the parents were anxious about their safety.

They were anxious about the future.

She spent an anxious night, waiting for him to come home safely.

We were anxious for more news.

I was anxious about my parents’ reaction.

Anxious is often followed by the prepositions. About and for are the most common prepositions that are used with anxious.

Difference Between Anxious and Eager

What Does Eager Mean?

Eager is marked by enthusiasm, keen interest, and desire. To be eager is to show a strong and impatient desire to do something or for something. For example, suppose that your favorite actor’s movie is releasing soon; your enthusiasm and impatient desire to watch the movie can be termed as eagerness. Thus, you are eager to watch this movie.

She was eager to start the project.

I was eager to start college.

We were eager to see the cake.

I was eager to buy a new car even though I wasn’t sure I could afford it.

The students were eager for knowledge.

From the above examples, you will notice that eager is often followed by the preposition to of an infinitive. This adjective is often followed by an infinitive form.

Key Difference - Anxious vs Eager

What is the difference between Anxious and Eager?


Anxious means showing worry, nervousness, fear, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome

Eager means showing a strong and impatient desire for something.

Negative vs Positive

Anxious is associated with fear, worry, nervousness and unease.

Eager is associated with enthusiasm, interest and impatient desire.


Anxious is often followed by a preposition.

Eager is often followed by the to of an infinitive.

 Image Courtesy:
“Image 1″ (CCo) via PEXELS
“Still a little anxious” (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr