How to Use Await vs Wait Correctly

Photo of author


It’s challenging to differentiate between two words with the same definitions and parts of speech. Waiting and awaiting have similar meanings, but which one should you use?

Learn the difference between awaiting and waiting and how to use them in sentences. Proper use of these words will make you a better English writer!

Waiting is a verb that means not doing an action until a condition is met. This word can be used with or without an object. Awaiting is a transitive verb that refers to delaying in expectation of something occurring.

When to Use Waiting

To wait means not doing 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 you don’t do any action to make the event come sooner.

You can wait for your sibling to come home or wait for your online order to arrive. Wait’s simple present forms are wait and waits. The present participle of wait is waiting, and its simple past is waited.

The word wait can also mean a hidden place.

How Do You Use Waiting in a Sentence?

  • I grew tired of waiting for him to come home, but he returned anyway.
  • There’s no point in waiting for a response when you can always try another. 
  • We sat and waited for our food. 
  • I’ve been waiting for you to send me a message.

So, he waited, then singled out two people who weren’t standing. [USA Today]

When to Use Awaiting

Await is a verb that means to wait for something or to be waiting. It can also mean to have something in the future be waiting for you. As you can see, it has the same definition as wait, but their uses differ.

While wait can be used without an object, await always needs an object. That meansthe sentence she’s awaiting is wrong because you need to await something, like prince charming or a bus. 

The verb alsohas several obsolete and archaic definitions. It carries with it a general formal feeling or one of seriousness. One possible reason for its formal tone is that it’s slightly older than wait.

Await first appeared in the English language during the 13th century. But it only became popular a century later. 

How Do You Use Awaiting in a Sentence?

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. [The New Indian Express]

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 Times of Israel]

In the first sentence, the object of the verb await is decision. And the direct object of await in the second sentence is the court’s authorization or authorization.

Trick to Remember the Exact Difference

Wait is shorter and therefore easier to use as a transitive or intransitive verb. You can use it in a sentence with or without an object. It’s also more suitable for contemporary sentences.

Await has an additional letter, so it’s more formal and strict in its usage. Only use grammatical structures like this if the verb has an accompanying object.

Focus on Using Wait

When all is said and done, and you’re still confused, use wait instead of await. Wait is more flexible because you can use it with or without an object. You can also use it in both formal and casual tones! If you have more grammar-related questions, let us know! And improve your writing even more with our breakdown of straight vs strait or wright vs write.