Await and Wait for

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dennis Lee, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. Dennis Lee

    Dennis Lee Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    I need your help. :oops: I want to know the difference between await and wait for. In the following sentence, which one is grammatically and idiomatic?
    1. God is by our side, and He is waiting for our return.
    2. God is by our side, and He is awaiting our return.
  2. User With No Name Senior Member

    English - U.S. (Texas)
    I think both are grammatically correct and idiomatic. "Awaiting" is higher in register (more formal), and since you are talking about religion (and not about someone waiting for a bus), my choice would be "awaiting."

    But again, I think they are both correct.

    (Interestingly, I don't think the converse would be true: "I am awaiting the the bus," while grammatically correct, is not, at least to me, idiomatic.)
  3. Greyfriar

    Greyfriar Senior Member


    Both sentences are correct and there is no difference in meaning between 'await' and 'waiting'.

    'Await' is rather archaic now.
  4. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    I think both are grammatically correct and nonsense.
    Where have we gone that God has to wait for us to return from? How can we return to Him if he is by our side?
  5. User With No Name Senior Member

    English - U.S. (Texas)
  6. Dennis Lee

    Dennis Lee Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Frankly speaking, our hearts move farther and farther away from God. For me, Hectic work schedules and life stress take away most of my time and energy, so I have less time to come before God and worship Him.:)
  7. Greyfriar

    Greyfriar Senior Member

    If you knew anything about Christian belief you wouldn't need to ask this. God is in heaven as well as being all around us in the form of the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that they will go to heaven when they die and that there they will meet God who is waiting for them.
  8. User With No Name Senior Member

    English - U.S. (Texas)
    Leaving theology aside for the moment, I think Myridon has a valid point regarding this specific sentence. Saying that X is at once "by our side" and "waiting for us to return" is an apparent paradox.
  9. Greyfriar

    Greyfriar Senior Member

    Yes, a paradox indeed. God moves in mysterious ways. :)
  10. Dennis Lee

    Dennis Lee Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Probably you're right.
  11. Dennis Lee

    Dennis Lee Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Thank you all. :) God bless you!
  12. High on grammar Senior Member

    Hello everyone:

    The first difference is in the grammatical structures that are associated with these two verbs.
    The verb 'await' must have an object - for example, 'I am awaiting your answer'. And the object of 'await' is normally inanimate, not a person, and often abstract. So, you can't say, 'John was awaiting me'. SOURCE: BBC LEARNING ENGLISH
    BBC World Service | Learning English | Ask about English

    But I found many examples using “await” with “objective pronouns.”

    Here’s one of them:

    I look out at the collage of faded buildings that await me below and wonder whether the sights on my first full day in Cuba can be as sweet as my first taste.

    Take Me with You

    Take Me with You: A Memoir
    By Carlos Frías

  13. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    English - United States
    I imagine what they actually mean in the BBC example is that the subject (not the object) of “await” is usually inanimate. We would certainly say “A crisis awaited me at home” or “Good news awaited her,” but “John awaited me” sounds odd. We would say “John was waiting for me.”
  14. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would say 'formal' rather than 'archaic'.
    I agree with Florentia. This refers to the metaphorical use of 'await', when you mean that something is going to happen to someone: 'Good news/a nasty surprise awaited me.'

    For the more literal meaning of 'waiting for', it's possible to have a human subject: 'He awaited my return', 'She's awaiting trial'.
  15. High on grammar Senior Member

    But we could also say:

    I was anxiously awaiting him.

    Emerging from the secured zone, he hoped to see a familiar person anxiously awaiting him amidst the sea of strangers and strangeness.
    Gather the Fruit One by
    edited by Pat Alter, Bernie Alter
    And in the song “SPANISH TRAIN”, Christ De Burgh says:

    But above his bed just awaiting for the dead
    Was the Devil with a twinkle in his eye.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019

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