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.Β 

– 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.Β 


  • Wait for somebody/something:

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

– 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! Weβ€˜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.Β 

– 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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