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Waiting vs. Awaiting: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 16, 2024
Waiting is to remain inactive or in a state of repose until something expected happens. Awaiting is to wait for something, especially with a sense of formality or anticipation.
Waiting vs. Awaiting

Key Differences

"Waiting" refers to the act of staying in one place or being inactive until a particular event happens or until something that one anticipates occurs. It's a more general term and can apply to various contexts, whether mundane or significant. On the other hand, "Awaiting" is often used in more formal or serious contexts and implies a higher level of expectation or anticipation. It's typically used when the outcome is significant or has a degree of certainty attached to it.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
The usage of "waiting" is versatile; it can be used in casual and everyday contexts. For example, you might wait for a bus, wait in line at a grocery store, or wait for a friend to arrive. This term doesn't necessarily imply an intense level of anticipation or eagerness. "Awaiting," however, often carries a sense of eagerness or anxiety. It is used when referring to events that have a significant impact, like awaiting test results, awaiting a verdict, or awaiting an important announcement.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
The word "waiting" can stand alone in a sentence and does not require an object. You can simply say, "I am waiting." It's an action that doesn't necessarily need to specify what one is waiting for. In contrast, "awaiting" is more commonly used with an object. You usually await something or someone, as in "She is awaiting the results" or "They are awaiting his arrival." This usage underscores a more focused and specific anticipation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
Grammatically, "waiting" can be used in more varied constructions. It can be followed by different prepositions like 'for', 'on', 'until', adding flexibility to its use. For example, "waiting for the rain to stop," "waiting on the platform," "waiting until the end." "Awaiting" is more straightforward and typically does not require a preposition. It directly attaches to its object, such as in "awaiting approval," "awaiting their response."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
In terms of emotional connotation, "waiting" can be neutral or carry a sense of boredom or impatience. It's a word that fits into everyday conversation without much weight. "Awaiting," however, often carries a sense of importance and urgency. It's more likely to be found in formal writings or situations where the outcome has a significant impact on the person's life or circumstances.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Formality

Less formal
More formal
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Context

General, everyday situations
Specific, significant events
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Grammar

Can stand alone or with prepositions (for, on, until)
Typically used with an object, without prepositions
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Emotional Connotation

Neutral, boredom, or impatience
Importance, urgency, anticipation
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Examples

Waiting for a friend, waiting at the station
Awaiting results, awaiting approval
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
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Waiting and Awaiting Definitions

Waiting

Staying in place or delaying action until a particular time or event.
I'm waiting for the movie to start.
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Jan 16, 2024

Awaiting

To be ready for; prepared for a future event.
They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new baby.
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Waiting

To look forward to something with eagerness.
He's waiting for his birthday with great excitement.
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Jan 16, 2024

Awaiting

Expecting or looking forward to something with anticipation.
She's awaiting her exam results anxiously.
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Waiting

To serve or attend to someone.
The waiter is waiting on the customers at table three.
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Awaiting

To remain stationary until an anticipated event occurs.
The jury is awaiting the judge's decision.
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Waiting

To remain idle in expectation of something.
She's waiting for her coffee to cool down.
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Jan 16, 2024

Awaiting

To be in suspense or uncertainty about.
The entire team is awaiting the final verdict.
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Waiting

To postpone or delay something.
We're waiting the meeting until everyone arrives.
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Awaiting

To be in store for; imminent.
A surprise party is awaiting her at home.
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Waiting

The act of remaining inactive or stationary.
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Jan 16, 2024

Awaiting

To wait for.
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Waiting

A period of time spent waiting.
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Awaiting

To be kept as ready for
A contract awaiting signature.
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Waiting

Present participle of wait
Your guest has been waiting for you.
Waiting for something to happen is part of the job.
They hurried into the waiting car.
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Jan 16, 2024

Awaiting

To be in store for
Death awaits us all.
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Waiting

(obsolete) Watching.
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Awaiting

To be in store
A busy day awaits.
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Waiting

The act of staying or remaining in expectation.
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Jan 16, 2024

Awaiting

Present participle of await
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Waiting

Attendance, service.
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Waiting

The act of waiting (remaining inactive in one place while expecting something);
The wait was an ordeal for him
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Waiting

Being and remaining ready and available for use;
Waiting cars and limousines lined the curb
Found her mother waiting for them
An impressive array of food ready and waiting for the guests
Military forces ready and waiting
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Jan 16, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What prepositions are commonly used with 'waiting'?

Prepositions like 'for', ' 'on', and 'until' are commonly used with 'waiting'.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'waiting' express eagerness?

Yes, but it's more commonly used to express a neutral or passive stance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What is the basic meaning of 'waiting'?

Waiting refers to the act of staying in place or delaying action until something happens.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What is the basic meaning of 'awaiting'?

Awaiting means to wait for something with anticipation or expectation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is 'waiting' formal or informal?

'Waiting' is neutral and can be used in both formal and informal contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'waiting' be used without an object?

Yes, you can use 'waiting' without specifying what you are waiting for.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'waiting' be used in a legal or official context?

Yes, but 'awaiting' is more likely in formal legal or official documents.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is 'awaiting' more formal than 'waiting'?

Yes, 'awaiting' is often considered more formal than 'waiting'.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is 'awaiting' used with or without an object?

'Awaiting' is typically used with an object, specifying what is being awaited.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'awaiting' express urgency?

Yes, it often conveys a sense of urgency or importance.
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Feb 16, 2024

Do we use prepositions with 'awaiting'?

Generally, no prepositions are used with 'awaiting'.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'waiting' indicate serving someone, like in a restaurant?

Yes, in contexts like 'waiting on tables', it refers to serving.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is 'awaiting' common in everyday speech?

It's less common in casual speech and more used in formal contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Are there synonyms that can replace 'waiting' or 'awaiting'?

Yes, words like 'anticipating', 'expecting', or 'biding time' can be similar.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'waiting' imply inactivity?

Yes, it can suggest being idle or not taking action until something happens.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Does 'awaiting' always suggest anxiety?

Not always, but it often conveys a higher level of anticipation or concern.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Does 'awaiting' imply a known outcome?

It often implies expectation of a specific, known outcome.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can 'awaiting' be used in a romantic context?

Yes, it can be used to express anticipation in a romantic setting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is 'waiting' appropriate in a business email?

Yes, it's suitable for both formal and informal business communications.
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Feb 16, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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