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Thread: Question

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    What's the difference between "await and wait", and in the case of "sleep and asleep"?
    What are the verbs that use this structure of putting "a" as a prefix?

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    Re: Question

    [1] Wait is intransitive, as in Wait here; await is transitive, as in Await instructions. Wait combined with for is synonymous with await, but await is more stilted or literary in tone: Await [Wait for] your mother.

    wait, await. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993

    [2] Sleep can be a verb or a noun:

    Verb: She usually sleeps all day.
    Noun: I had only 4 hours sleep last night.

    [3] Asleep can be an adverb or an adjective:

    Adverb: He fell asleep in class.
    Adjective: We were asleep when you called.

    [4] They're generally adjectives, not verbs:
    afloat, aware, alike, afraid, alive, alone, ashamed
    Prefix a-
    a reduced form of the Old English preposition on, meaning “on,” “in,” “into,” “to,” “toward,” preserved before a noun in a prepositional phrase, forming a predicate adjective or an adverbial element (afoot; abed; ashore; aside; away), or before an adjective (afar; aloud; alow), as a moribund prefix with a verb (acknowledge), and in archaic and dialectal use before a present participle in -ing (set the bells aringing); and added to a verb stem with the force of a present participle (ablaze; agape; aglow; astride; and originally, awry).

    a - Definitions from

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