Wait vs Await

Confusing Words:
Await
Definition:
look forward to the probable occurrence of

Examples:
The neighbors await the birth of their first child.

Wait
Definition:
stay in one place and anticipate or expect something

Examples:
I had to wait on line for an hour to get the tickets

To wait means to not do an action until a future event or condition is met. It can also mean to be in a state of expecting something to happen in the future, but not taking action to make the event come sooner.

Await is a verb that means to wait for something or to be waiting. Also, it can mean to have something in the future be waiting for you, or in other words, something is in store. Await has several obsolete and archaic definitions. It carries with it a general formal feeling or one of seriousness.

Both words can be used with objects; however, if wait is used with an object it requires a preposition (e.g., I wait for the box vs. I await the box). Wait is the only one that can be used without an object. It is also used in many phrases with slightly altered meanings, like to wait up is to stay awake for some event, and if one can’t wait it means he or she is extremely excited.

In short, use await with an object and if the tone required is more formal.

Examples:

  • So he waited, then singled out two people who weren’t standing.
  • The 184 students, who were refused promotion to 12th standard due to poor performance in the previous class, await the decision of their respective schools.
  • According to PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, the authority is still awaiting the court’s authorization in order to submit the documents, which it may do by the middle of June, Israel Radio reported.

The slight difference between wait and await makes it difficult to conceptualize the difference between the two words, wait and await. In fact, they are two different words with different meanings. The word wait is used in the sense of ‘remain’. On the other hand, the word await is used in the sense of ‘wait on’ or ‘expect’. This is the main difference between the two words. Also, await is more formal than the word wait. It is interesting to note that the word await is used as a transitive verb. This means that the verb gives rise to the direct object. On the other hand, the verb wait is used as an intransitive verb. This means that the verb gives rise to the indirect object. This is one of the main differences between the two verbs, namely, wait and await.

What does Wait mean?

The word wait is used in the sense of remain or as the Oxford English dictionary says ‘stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event.’ Observe the two sentences given below.

  • He waited for a long time at the bus stop.
  • She had a long wait.

In both the sentences, you can see that the word wait is used in the sense of ‘remain.’ Hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘he remained for a long time at the bus stop’, and the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘she remained for a long time’. However, the sentences could also mean ‘he stayed for a long time at the bus stop’ and ‘she stayed for a long time.’

The word wait is sometimes used as a noun also as in the sentences.

  • She had a long wait in the railway station.
  • He is having a long wait today.

In both the sentences, you can find that the word wait is used as a noun instead of a verb. Thus, it is clear that the word wait can be used either as a noun or as a verb.

Difference Between Wait and Await

What does Await mean?

Await means wait on or expect. Observe the two sentences given below.

  • She awaited the results of the examination.
  • He was awaiting her arrival.

In both the sentences, you can find that the word await is used in the sense of ‘wait on’ or ‘expect.’ So, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘she expected the results of the examination’ or ‘she waited on the results of the examination’. On the other hand, the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘he was expecting her arrival’ or ‘he was waiting on her arrival’.

On the other hand, the word await can be used only as a verb. It cannot be used as a noun. On the other hand, modern English accepts the usage of the word await in the noun form as well.

What is the difference between Wait and Await?

  • The word wait is used in the sense of ‘remain’.
  • On the other hand, the word await is used in the sense of ‘wait on’ or ‘expect’.
  • Await is a transitive verb and wait is an intransitive verb.
  • • Wait is used as verb as well as a noun. Await is only used as a verb, but the use of it as a noun is accepted in modern English.

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

Posted in Education, English, Grammar.

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