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21 / 03 / 2012

WAITING vs. AWAITING: meaning and examples

Good morning.

Today we look at a question from Cristian Fernández:

Dear Matthew. I would like to know the difference or when do we have to use awaiting or waiting? Or if there is no difference and it’s up to you… Thanks and best regards, Cristian Fernandez

The verbs to wait and to await have the same meaning (i.e. to stay in a place or to delay an action until a particular time or occurrence). However, there are some differences in grammar and use.

Use of Waiting: The verb to wait is more common, particularly in informal contexts and speech. Wait is followed by the adverbial particle for before an object.

Example 1:
I am waiting for Mr Sands to reply to my telephone call.

Example 2:
They have been waiting for the bus for half an hour.

Example 3:
Wait here! I'll be back in five minutes.

Use of Awaiting: The verb to await is often used in formal, written contexts, particularly at the end of business correspondence. It means the same as wait for but we use await direct object (without the word for).

Example 4
Thank you for receiving me yesterday morning. In regards to our conversation, I await your reply.

Example 5:
We hope you will find our products suitable for your needs. Awaiting your response. Faithfully, Lianna Randolph

Observe the difference:
(Incorrect) I am awaiting Mr Sands to reply to me.
(Correct) I am waiting for Mr Sands to reply to me
(Correct) I am awaiting Mr Sands' reply.

I am awaiting for your call.
(Correct) I am waiting for your call.
(Correct) I am awaiting your call.

I hope this answers your question, Christian. I'll be awaiting comments and questions from our readers about today's Daily Vitamin. All you have to do is click on the "Add a comment" button in the Daily Vitamin section of our webpage. If you would like to review the expression What are you waiting for?, you can go to the Daily Vitamin for April 10th, 2007.

Have a great day!