Waiting vs. Awaiting

After reading the “Pending vs. Waiting” Tip of the Day yesterday, Victor from Milan, Italy, an enthusiastic member of the Peanut Gallery, asked: What is the difference between waiting and awaiting?”

Good question, Victor. Basically, they both mean to be “on hold” or pause for a period of time expecting something to happen. The main difference between the two verbs is what comes after them in the sentence.

“Wait” takes a preposition between the verb and the thing that is expected (object of the preposition).

Examples:

We are waiting for Core Labs to finish the special core analysis report.

My son is now waiting on tables at LA Bar next to Ragin’ Cajun.

“Await” needs no preposition, just the direct object.

Example:

We are awaiting the Core Labs report; it should be here any day now.

Victor in Milan awaits my response to his question.

If you want to talk about subtle differences in meaning, then “waiting” should convey a passage of time or the delivery of some helpful service (waiting on her, hand and foot), whereas “awaiting” has a connotation of expecting something.

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Profound Quote of the Day:

“Most people are awaiting Virtual Reality; I’m awaiting virtuous reality.”

– Eli Khamarov, English writer, b. 1948

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