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You can’t afford to miss this Posted by on Jun 30, 2019 in English Grammar, English Language, English Vocabulary

Good afternoon to all! How are you today? With the hot season approaching, sometimes we just feel strongly compelled to just drop everything and take a long trip along the coast, right? I know, but unfortunately I can’t afford to do that right now. That is, I don’t have the time or the money to indulge on that. The verb afford in the English language is one of those verbs that can be used in a couple of different situations and it often does not have one exact translation into other languages. Have you heard or needed to use it before? Today’s post will focus on this important and frequently used word among English speakers and show the different contexts in which it is employed. Let’s hit it!

How to use the verb ‘afford’ in English

First of all, let us take a look at the examples below:

  • I’m afraid I can’t afford this flat. It is way beyond my price range. I have to find a cheaper place.
  • We need to take a cab right away. Our flight leaves at 10am and we can’t afford to waste any more time.

In the first example, we can understand that afford works to express not having the money or financial conditions to pay for or buy something. Since the cost of the apartment is high, the person can not afford (have the necessary resources) and needs to look for another place.

But there is more to it. In the second case, we are not talking exactly about having the ability to pay for something, but rather to deal with the costs or consequences of actions. Those people are probably late and cannot afford (be able to take the risk, deal with the problem) to arrive at the airport late or they will end up losing the flight. You also may have noticed that afford is usually preceeded by modal verbs such as can, could or be able to.

Therefore, the verb afford can have both the sense of being able to pay for something because you have enough money, but also of being able to face something negative that may happen. Here are some more examples below and try to see which of the two possible meanings they have:

  • I don’t know why you complain so much about having to take care of your children. Can’t you just hire a babysitter? You certainly can afford it!
  • How could you afford this party? Renting this venue alone must have cost you a fortune!
  • With business being so slow for the past few months, the car dealer couldn’t afford to lose another costumer.
  • Terry is applying for a scholarship because he can’t afford to pay the university tuition fees.
  • I can’t afford to miss work twice this week, my boss is going to be furious.
  • I am already falling behind on Spanish classes, I can’t afford to skip class again.
  • Since his past two movie were a complete box office failure, the director knew that he couldn’t afford to make another unsuccessful film and decided to hire a famous actress to play the leading role.
  • I know it is a used car, but it is the best I could afford at the moment.
  • You spent the last two weeks at the hospital, you had better take good care of yourself because you can’t afford to get sick again.
  • We cannot afford any more delays in the project otherwise the manager will have to make budget cuts.
  • The government simply cannot afford for the strike to go on any longer.
  • I honestly don’t know how Margaret can afford such a large house with her teacher’s salary.
  • Michael turned down the job position in Germany because he couldn’t afford to stay from his family for that long.

So, was that clear? See you guys next week!

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