I can't wait till I see you

Discussion in 'English Only' started by susanna76, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. susanna76 Senior Member

    Romanian
    Hi,

    I'm wondering about something. It's ok to say "I can't wait till I finish this darn project" but is it ok to say "I can't wait till I see you"? I'm asking because "I can't wait to see you" seems such a set phrase that it might not be ok to alter it :). At the same time, I feel that "I can't wait till I see you" is less urgent than "I can't wait to see you" and I'd rather use the first version in certain circumstances.

    So, what do you think about all the above?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    I think "I can't wait till I see you" is fine - it's not really a set phrase so you are OK to alter it to suit your purpose.
     
  3. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with Paul; it would be fine in US English, too.
     
  4. bis Senior Member

    Italy
    italian
    Hi Paul are you saying that both forms are interchangeable? Can I say for example I can't wait till I get my driver's license or I can't wait to get my driver's license?
     
  5. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    Both forms sound fine to me.
    PS You need to empty your WRF forum mailbox.
     
  6. Phil-Olly Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    Sorry to disagree - but in my opinion there is a difference.

    "I can't wait to see you" = "I'm so looking forward to seeing you - time seems to pass slowly ...etc."
    "I can't wait till I see you" suggests to me that there is something following: "....so I'm sending you this by email."

    Similarly:
    "I can't wait to get my driver's license" = "I'm dying to be able to drive a car unaccompanied."
    "I can't wait till I get my driver's license ....so I'm having to ask my dad to drive me there."
     
  7. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    I agree that they are not perfectly interchangeable, but perhaps it is peculiar to AE usage, the difference to me is not as marked as you state. The difference will not be noted by many AE speakers. I can see either meaning from either sentence, so the disambiguation comes from whether a dependent clause follows. Thanks, Phil-Olly, for making me aware of yet another BE/AE difference. I think a non-native speaker looking for this difference among AE speakers would quickly become frustrated and confused.:eek:
     
  8. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    We agree on the first sentence, Phil—but as to the second, it might have either meaning in AE. Used all by itself, it does mean the same as the first, and an American speaker would so understand it. It's also used as you've used it here, with something following; in that case it has the meaning you've used above: I'm unable to wait until [a particular future time] to do/say something.
     
  9. susanna76 Senior Member

    Romanian
    Thank you all!
     
  10. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    I agree with the distinction made by Phil-olly.

    'I can't wait till I do something' and 'I can't wait to do something' are both correct but have different meanings, as shown in post 6.
     
  11. susanna76 Senior Member

    Romanian
    Thank you, wandle! Now they some of you have mentioned it, I can see why that is. I didn't see it before though, even as I've obviously used the construction in longer sentences (followed by "so I'm [doing this]"). Thank you!
     
  12. susanna76 Senior Member

    Romanian
    Well, I was watching an episode in the third series of Lie to Me, and at the end of the episode Cal Lightman's business partner (forget her name) says: "I can't wait till tomorrow." Then Cal says, "Why?" (or something like that), and the woman responds, "I get better-looking every day."

    I think that shows that the construction with "till" doesn't have to have a different meaning, as Parla says. But I agree it's probably a good idea not to use it unless there's a dependent clause implied.
     
  13. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    This is a different construction, not the same at all.
    In this example, 'till' (perfectly correct) is a preposition.

    In the original example, 'I can't wait till I finish ... ', 'till' is a conjunction.
     
  14. susanna76 Senior Member

    Romanian
    Hi wandle, that's right, but doesn't the same distinction hold? I mean, "I can't wait till tomorrow" could easily be interpreted like the other construction with "till" (where "till" is a conjunction). It may be seen as different from "I can't wait for tomorrow."
     
  15. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I add my voice to the other BrE speakers. I wouldn't say "I can't wait till..." to mean I'm looking forward to it. It would mean "It's impossible for me to wait, we need to find another solution".
     
  16. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    It is certainly different from 'I can't wait for tomorrow'. However, I do not see the meaning of 'I can't wait till tomorrow' in post 12. All I see is that it is taking us away from the original question, by changing the construction.
     

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