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Wait or wait for?

Wait means ‘stay in the same place or not do something until something else happens’. We can use it with or without for:

Put a tea bag into the cup, then add water and wait (for) a minute or two before taking it out.

I phoned the head office but I had to wait (for) five minutes before I spoke to anyone.

We waited (for) hours to get the tickets.

Warning:

When we use a direct object after wait, we have to use wait for:

Wait for us outside the cinema. We’ll be there at seven o’clock.

Not: Wait us

I waited for the postman every day last week hoping that your present would arrive.

Not: I waited the postman

Wait with the to-infinitive

Wait can be followed by the to-infinitive:

All right, I’ll wait to hear from you, Adam, then I’ll ring Simon.

By 9 pm there were about 20 people still waiting to vote.

Can’t wait

When we are very excited about something that is going to happen, we use the phrase can’t wait for + noun phrase or can’t wait + to-infinitive:

I can’t wait for tonight. I’m having a party! (I’m really looking forward to tonight.)

We can’t wait to go to Barcelona in June. (We’re really looking forward to going.)

(“Wait or wait for ?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)

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