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Difference Between Awaiting or Waiting

Awaiting or Waiting

The verbs “awaiting” and “waiting” are commonly used in English to describe the act of expecting or looking forward to something. While they are often used interchangeably, subtle differences in their usage and contexts can enhance the precision and nuance of communication. Understanding these differences is crucial for effectively conveying the intended meaning, especially in formal writing or when emphasizing a particular nuance of expectation.

Part of SpeechVerb (transitive)Verb (intransitive)
DefinitionTo wait for (someone or something) with anticipationTo stay in place until an event happens or someone arrives
Preposition RequiredNo, “await” is followed directly by the objectYes, often used with “for” when an object is present
FormalityMore formalLess formal, more commonly used
Example“She is awaiting the results.”She is waiting for the results.

Difference Between “Awaiting” and “Waiting”

Definition of Awaiting

"Awaiting" is a transitive verb, meaning it requires a direct object to convey its full meaning. It implies an expectation or anticipation of something specific and is often used in more formal contexts or written communication. "Awaiting" suggests a level of certainty or preparation for the event or person anticipated.

Definition of Waiting

Waiting," in contrast, is generally an intransitive verb, meaning it does not require a direct object (though it can take one with the preposition "for"). It denotes the act of delaying action or pausing until something else happens or someone arrives. "Waiting" can be used in a broader range of contexts and often implies a passive state.

Origin of Awaiting

The term “awaiting” derives from the Middle English “awaiten,” meaning to lie in wait for or to expect. Its use emphasizes the proactive aspect of expecting something to happen.

Origin of Waiting

Waiting” comes from the Old North French “waitier,” meaning to watch or guard, which in turn derives from the Germanic word “wachten.” It implies a more general sense of pausing or staying in a place.


  • Awaiting: /əˈweɪtɪŋ/
  • Waiting: /ˈweɪtɪŋ/

Comparing Awaiting and Waiting

The key distinction lies in their formality, the necessity of a direct object, and the level of anticipation or passivity implied. “Awaiting” conveys a sense of expectancy and is direct, often used in scenarios where the outcome is somewhat certain or formalized. “Waiting” is more versatile, applicable in casual and formal contexts, and can imply a range of attitudes from passive to eager.

FormalityMore formal, often found in written communicationCommon in both spoken and written English
Direct ObjectRequires a direct object without a prepositionDoes not require a direct object; uses “for” with an object
ImplicationAnticipation, expectancyGeneral sense of delay or pause

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Awaiting in Sentences

  1. The team is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the competition results.
    • Implies a specific and eager anticipation for the results.
  2. A decision is still awaiting approval from the board.
    • Suggests that the approval process is pending and expected.
  3. She received a letter stating that a package was awaiting her at the post office.
    • Indicates that the package is ready and waiting specifically for her.

Use of Waiting in Sentences

  1. They were waiting for the rain to stop before continuing their journey.
    • Indicates a pause in action due to an external condition.
  2. He spent hours waiting by the phone for any news.
    • Shows a more passive form of anticipation.
  3. The city is waiting with bated breath for the final election results.
    • While there’s anticipation, the emphasis is on the collective pause and attention of the city.


Although “awaiting” and “waiting” are closely related, choosing between them can add specificity and clarity to expressions of anticipation. “Awaiting” is formal and direct, used when there’s a specific object of anticipation, while “waiting” is more versatile and can imply a range of attitudes towards the anticipated event or person.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can “awaiting” be used in casual conversation?
    • While not incorrect, “awaiting” might sound overly formal in everyday speech. “Waiting” is more common in casual contexts.
  • Is it ever grammatically correct to use “waiting” with a direct object without “for”?
    • Typically, “waiting” is used with “for” when followed by an object. Using “waiting” without “for” can lead to awkward or incorrect constructions.
  • How do I decide which verb to use in writing?
    • Consider the context and the formality of the communication. “Awaiting” is suitable for formal texts or when emphasizing a direct, specific anticipation. “Waiting” is more universally applicable and less formal.
  • Are there exceptions to these rules?
    • English is flexible, and there are always exceptions. Context, common usage, and the evolution of language influence how and when these terms are used.


What is the difference between awaiting and waiting?

Awaiting refers to expecting or looking forward to something with urgency or excitement, while waiting is more neutral and simply means staying in one place or delaying action until a particular time.

When should I use waiting?

Use waiting when you need to delay action until a future event or condition occurs, or when you are staying in a state of expectation for something to happen in the future.

When should I use awaiting?

Use awaiting when you are specifically waiting for something or someone. Unlike wait, which can be used without an object, await always requires an object.

Can waiting be used as a noun?

Yes, waiting can also be used as a noun to refer to a hidden place.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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