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  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default wait for x wait on

    Hi.
    Could you please explain me the difference between
    wait on x wait for.
    It's something I could never understand.
    Thank you!
    Ricardo

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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  3. #3
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    Hi,

    1) wait on someone (to do something)
    2) wait for someone (to do something)
    Do you use the first in place of the second?

    - I waited on my wife in the park while she finished her shopping.
    - I get tired of waiting on that guy to make up his mind.
    Do these sentences sound natural to you?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    I think where the confusion is coming in, is that there is a rather outdated meaning of 'wait on' = await the convenience of : "We can't wait on the local council to take action; we'll have to tackle the problem outselves."

    Your sentence, I waited on my wife in the park while she finished her shopping.
    is an example of this.

    You could just as easily said, "I waited for my wife.." - they mean pretty much the same thing.
    So- I wouldn't trouble yourself with the outdated meaning. Just remember:

    You wait for someone to come/to leave/to do something...

    and a waiter, butler, servant, shop assistant waits on you.

  5. #5
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    David L.,
    Thank you very much.

    "I get tired of waiting on that guy to make up his mind."
    What do you think of this sentence?

  6. #6
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    Why would you use 'wait on' when you can use the more familiar 'wait for'?
    Unless of course, you are talking about waiters waiting on dining guests.

    not a teacher

  7. #7
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    "I get tired of waiting on that guy to make up his mind."

    Firstly, the verb form is incorrect. You have two choices:

    "I got tired of waiting on that guy to make up his mind."
    or
    "I'm getting tired of waiting on that guy to make up his mind."

    Can you see why?

    Secondly...leave it go! You are using 'wait on' in its outdated sense, and native speakers hearing this sentence would think it most odd.

    Much better:
    "I got/I'm getting tired of waiting for that guy to make up his mind."

  8. #8
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    Thanks a lot, David.
    "... native speakers hearing this sentence would think it most odd."
    This is what I've wanted to hear, Dave.

    I'm afraid I don't make out why that verb form isn't correct.

  9. #9
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Thanks a lot, David.
    "... native speakers hearing this sentence would think it most odd."
    This is what I've wanted to hear, Dave.

    I'm afraid I don't make out why that verb form isn't correct.
    It is not incorrect. It is just old-fashioned and not much used, save in the sense of someone in a restaurant or shop waiting on you.

    It may also be found as "I am waiting on you to reply to my last letter".

    Tdol gave you this information.

  10. #10
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: wait for x wait on

    I have read all of the previous replies, and I am going to offer a contrary opinion. It is pretty much the opposite here (USA) to what the other posters have stated. That is, "wait on" has pretty much replaced "wait for" in every usage. There used to be a distinction between them, but there no longer is. Indeed, "wait for" seems not to be used anymore except by us old fogies.


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