1. It's six o'clock. I was expecting him here at five forty-five.

  2. It's six o'clock. I was expecting him to be here at five forty-five.

What I'm confused is the no.1 sentence that it could mean:

I was here expecting him at five forty-five.

1 Answer 1


Your are correct that the first sentence is ambiguous. Both interpretations are valid.

In practice, though, both interpretations mean the same thing: if you were here expecting him, it's because you expected him to be here, and you knew whether he was here where you expected him to be because you were here. Youcould have been elsewhere, expecting him to be here, but that's unusual enough that you'd be relying on context to make it plain

  • Thanks! I'm learning the word "expect" and the meaning of "here" could make "expect" change its meaning. In the first sentence, it could mean "I'm here waiting for him." The second sentence, however, could mean "I was looking forward for him to be here." So it has more or less difference in these two situations, am I right?
    – preachers
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:08
  • "I was looking forward to his presence" would not be among the usual readings of the second sentence, though it might well be a connotation.
    – Darael
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:11
  • 1
    @preachers That's because "looking forward to" (in the sense of "happily anticipating") isn't ever really a primary meaning of "expecting", but rather a possibly piece of subtext (which would hopefully be made clear by context).
    – Darael
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:17
  • Oh, one more question about the time "five forty-five", is it "It is five forty-five that I was expecting him here" or "I was expecting that he should be here at five forty-five"?
    – preachers
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:46
  • Again, for practical purposes both of those mean the same thing: "I expected that, at five forty-five, he would be here".
    – Darael
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:47

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