Meaning of Wait + Difference Between Wait For, Wait In and Wait On


1. Stay where you are, do nothing:

– She put the food in the microwave and waited.

– The postman rang the bell, and then he waited.

Wait in this room, the boss will come in five minutes.

wait for, wait on, wait in

2. Delay doing something until somebody/something comes or something happens:

Wait until the light turns green. 

– We have to wait with this work; it’s raining too hard.


  • Wait (for) a certain period of time:

– They’ve been waiting (for) two hours. 


  • Wait for somebody/something:

– We’ll be waiting for you at the station. 

– How long have you been waiting for the manager?


  • Wait (for somebody/something) to do something:

– We’re waiting for the rain to stop before we go out.

– Hurry up! We‘re waiting to go.


  • Wait in – stay at home (in the office, etc.), because you are expecting somebody to come, telephone, etc.:

– We waited in all the afternoon but the guests didn’t arrive.

– Shall I wait in after work if the decorators can’t finish in time?


  • Wait on something/somebody (informal, especially American English) – wait for something to happen before you do or decide something:

– I’m waiting on the result of a blood test.

Wait on the final exams before you start looking for a job.


  • Wait on somebody – serve somebody, act as a servant to somebody, especially by serving food to them:

– She waited on customers all day at the department store. 

– Help yourself, I’m too tired to wait on you.

– My husband just sits there in front of the TV and expects me to wait on him.

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photo credit: Roberto Trm via photopin cc

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