Wait and await

August 2, 2014pdf

The verbs wait and await have similar meanings but they are used in different grammatical structures.

The verb await must have an expressed object.

  • I am awaiting your reply.
  • They are awaiting the birth of their first baby.

The object of await is usually a thing. It is not a person.

For example, we can’t say: I am awaiting you.

The verb wait can be used in several different structures.

Wait does not require an object.

  • We have been waiting for hours.

Wait can be followed by an infinitive.

  • I waited in line to board the bus.
  • I am waiting to hear from him.

When we use the verb ‘wait’, we usually also mention the length of the time we have been waiting.

  • I have been waiting since morning.

Before an object, wait takes the preposition for. Note that in this case, the noun/pronoun that follows for is the object of the preposition.

  • I am waiting for you. (NOT I am waiting you.)
  • We are waiting for his call. OR We are awaiting his call.

Await is more formal than wait. It can be used in formal letters and documents.

Wait is more common and leaves less room for confusion.

Note that await does not take the preposition ‘for’.

  • We are awaiting his call. (NOT We are awaiting for his call.)

Complete the following sentences using wait or await.

1. Let’s ………………. until he arrives. (wait / await)

2. The manager is busy now, so you will have to ……………….. (wait / wait for / await)

3. I have been …………………. a bus for two hours. (waiting for / awaiting / waiting)

4. The bill is ………………….. parliamentary approval. (awaiting / waiting)

Answers

1. wait; 2. wait; 3. waiting for; awaiting

Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."