Waiting vs. Awaiting? What is the difference?

Both ‘waiting’ and ‘awaiting’ are words that can be used in the English language, ‘waiting’ can be used on its own while ‘awaiting’ must have a transition object to go with it. Both uses of the words can have the same meaning, but like most words within the English language, there are rules to go with it.

Read on to learn more about the meaning of the words, how to use them properly, and how they can mean the same things.

What does ‘waiting’ mean?

The word ‘waiting’ means the process of remaining or staying and it comes from the simple word ‘wait’. ‘Wait’ means to stay in one place until something else happens. Usually written “to wait”, there are also past, present, and future variations like,

I waited on him for an hour.
We were waiting for you to get here.
I will wait for you before I leave.

You can see that all three of these sentences use a tense of the word ‘wait’. All of these sentences use the word with the same meaning, even though they are different spellings and uses.

What does ‘await’ mean?

The word “await” is a transitive verb that means the same as “waiting” but needs an object to go with it in order for it to be grammatically correct. For example,

I am awaiting his arrival before I leave.
He is awaiting what’s in store for him.
A crowd of people awaited the parade.

All of these examples use the word “awaiting” or “awaited” with an object. The first is “awaiting his arrival”, the second “awaiting what’s in store”, and “awaited the parade”. All of these sentences tell the reader what, when, or whom, is being waited for. In order to be correct, the word ‘await’ will need to have additional context in the sentence to inform the reader.

How to remember which to use

The word “wait” is simple, informal, and can be used in most writing. However, if you’re looking for a bit of formality then you should choose to use the word ‘awaiting’ in your text.

A good rule to remember is that ‘wait’ is short and sweet. To use ‘awaiting’ means to write additional letters in the word and include additional text in the sentence to make it a proper sentence.