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    #1

    wait for vs wait on

    I've heard both "wait for" vs "wait on" in the context

    "What took you so long? We've been waiting for/on half an hour for you."

    Any difference?

  1. apbl's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    You can wait for somebody and you can wait for something and you can wait for a period of time:

    I'm waiting for Bob.
    He waited for the bus.
    We have been waiting for two hours.

    To wait on usually means to serve:

    He waits on his children. (He does everything for them.)
    I'm waiting on table two. (I'm serving table two.)

    But it can have the same meaning as to wait for when you are expecting some kind of result before making a decision:

    We are waiting on/for the outcome of next week's meeting before deciding what to do.

    In the example that you give, the use of "on" is incorrct.
    Last edited by apbl; 11-Oct-2010 at 11:25. Reason: Adding information

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    #3

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by apbl View Post
    You can wait for somebody and you can wait for something and you can wait for a period of time:

    I'm waiting for Bob.
    He waited for the bus.
    We have been waiting for two hours.

    To wait on usually means to serve:

    He waits on his children. (He does everything for them.)
    I'm waiting on table two. (I'm serving table two.)

    But it can have the same meaning as to wait for when you are expecting some kind of result before making a decision:

    We are waiting on/for the outcome of next week's meeting before deciding what to do.

    In the example that you give, the use of "on" is incorrct.
    The thing is that I heard from native speakers.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    The thing is that I heard from native speakers.
    "What took you so long? We've been waiting on half an hour for you."
    I would be astonished if you heard the above from a native speaker.

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    #5

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "What took you so long? We've been waiting on half an hour for you."
    I would be astonished if you heard the above from a native speaker.
    You might well hear it if you watch a movie "Kelly's Heroes" with young Clint Eastwood staring in it.

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    #6

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    You might well hear it if you watch a movie "Kelly's Heroes" with young Clint Eastwood staring in it.
    I could believe that he said "We've been waiting on you for half an hour", but not "...waiting on half an hour for you."

  4. apbl's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    I agree: "We've been waiting on you for half an hour" is possible although if the meaning is not intended to be "serving you" then I would say that it is still incorrect.

    "Waiting on" + time expression is without doubt incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I could believe that he said "We've been waiting on you for half an hour", but not "...waiting on half an hour for you."
    I've listened to it again. A paltoon of American GIs is about to go through the enemy lines.

    "Let's get moving.And stay close to me, huh. I don't want to be waiting on anyone." Time is 00:42:53

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    #9

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    I've listened to it again. A paltoon of American GIs is about to go through the enemy lines.

    "Let's get moving.And stay close to me, huh. I don't want to be waiting on anyone." Time is 00:42:53
    I would like to bring it up once again.What would an everage American say?

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    #10

    Re: wait for vs wait on

    Quote Originally Posted by apbl View Post
    I agree: "We've been waiting on you for half an hour" is possible although if the meaning is not intended to be "serving you" then I would say that it is still incorrect.

    "Waiting on" + time expression is without doubt incorrect.
    The average American would say the same thing as the average Englishman. I agree with apbl.

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