Posted by: episystechpubs | July 25, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Await and wait

Just the other day, someone asked me about when to use wait vs. await, or if they could use them interchangeably. While they both have a general meaning of staying in place, each has a different flavor and requires a different grammatical structure. Let’s have a look!

The verb await requires that you have an object in your sentence. For example:

· I await your response to my invitation.

· Joe shook nervously as he awaited Becky’s answer to his proposal.

And while await means “staying” or “being ready” for something, it is also considered more formal. It even has a bit of a shady background according to Merriam-Webster, where its obsolete use is “to watch for (someone) especially with hostile intent: lie in wait for.”

The verb wait is more flexible. You can use it by itself, with other verbs, and to mean everything from “staying” to “attending to” to “delay.” For example:

· We waited three hours for Chris to show up.

· Jeeves waited on the Countess, predicting his mistress’s every need before she herself knew she wanted something.

· Wait thirty minutes after eating before you return to the swimming pool.

Another interesting tidbit (well, interesting to me) is that the Spanish verb esperar means both “to wait” and “to hope.”

Now…no more waiting! It’s Friday. Have a great weekend.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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