Monday, August 24, 2009

Wait and Await

Both wait and await are verbs.

Await always takes an object: you await your destiny, etc.
Wait does not: you wait for or on something or someone.


Wait is intransitive, (a verb or verb construction that does not require or cannot take a direct object), and a preposition must be used with it. That preposition is usually for: "I've been waiting for 2 hours."

The verb wait can come in different structures. You can just use wait on its own: "I've been waiting for the release of that book."

Wait is often used with another verb: "I waited in line for the author to make an appearance."

Very often a reference to time is mentioned when using a form of wait: "I waited for at least an hour."

Finally, speakers often mention what or who they have been waiting for: "I have been waiting for two hours for the bookstore to open."


Await is transitive, (a verb requiring a direct object): "I await the author's appearance."

Await, being more formal, is more commonly used in written form, as opposed to speech, when we tend to use wait for.

Remember, await isn't followed by for - wait is.


When reading the following sentences, it's easy to "hear" that they are not grammatically correct:

I wait the release of the book.
I await for the release of the book.

Using a preposition with the correct verb, it's equally as easy to "hear" proper syntax:

I wait for the release of the book.
I await the release of the book.


In most cases, the primary difference between wait and await is the level of formality.
Await is simply a more formal way of saying to wait for.

I await the release of the book.
I am waiting for the release of the book.


  1. Taking notes...

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

  2. Thanks for sharing this...I am definitely going to try to remember this one.

  3. Oh, I love this site! Do you have a past post about lay, lie and all that good stuff?

    No matter how I try, I cannot seem to keep it straight so I avoid using them at all costs!


  4. Diana - THANK YOU!

    I haven't done "lay and lie" yet, but thanks for the idea for a future post!!

  5. Interesting. I'd always sort of intuited the difference but this is a very clear and succint explanation of the distinction between the two words. As not only an author but an editor as well, I must say, I done learnt sumthin! LOL

    Marvin D Wilson

  6. Hey just checked out your main website - looks sweet! I love the diamond imagery and the color coordination. Nice.

    I see Diane Wolfe is a visitor here, also - great gal, I visit her blog daily.

    Marvin D Wilson

  7. Thanks for such kind words, Marvin!

    Yes, Diane has been an inspiration and very instrumental in her advice and support! She's one special lady!


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