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Judy was in tears when she heard the terrible news about her friend's death.

... was shedding tears all over her face ... horrible/frightening ....

Hi,

The second of the above is how I interpret the first. Correct me if I am wrong. Thanks.
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was in tears - yes I suppose you could interpret it that way, but it sounds a bit odd. She was crying.

terrible - yes I'd agree that horrible is reasonably close. Frightening isn't.
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Thanks, Nona.

But what are the basic differences between terrible and frightening? Is frightening more shocking than horrible?
If someone comes up from behind and screams, you'll get scared or be frightened. But you don't get scared by news.

I think the difference is frightened and scared both need an external factor that gets/drive the recipient into the state of fear. In the example above, the external factor is the loud sound and the agent that delivers it is a person, someone. Terrible doesn't need an external factor or an agent. It simple describes the state of the object/noun.Terrible person , terrible news, terrible answer.