to fear/be afraid of
I can't understand how exactly the word (sich) fürchten works in German. I've come across the following forms: "sich vor etwas fürchten" and "etwas fürchten". Most sources suggest the reflexive form means to be afraid of something while the transitive form means to fear something and that the latter has a somewhat stronger meaning. I'm aware though that there may be some semantical difference between the English and German words. So, what is the exact meaning of each one of these two variants, in what context and how often are they used?
Ich fürchte die Nacht sounds a bit more formal than Ich fürchte mich in der Nacht or vor der Nacht but it is rather interchangeable.
And there is also Ich fürchte, ich kann dir da nicht helfen which can be also said as Tut mir leid......
I just stick with the, "Ich habe Angst/keine Angst vor..."
But this is good to remember as an alternative :-)