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Should I use waiting for you or waiting you? Why?


"I am waiting for you" is grammatically correct. You may use "I'm waiting" but without using "you" afterwards.

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    +0.9 It may profit OP to be told that wait is an intransitive verb and cannot take a direct object. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 15 '14 at 3:11

You should use 'waiting for you'. It is a transitive phrase. This means that the verb (waiting) needs one or more words.

You could also say, 'waiting on you'.

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    "Waiting on you" is specifically American English. In British English, I would "wait on you" if I were a waiter in a restaurant. – Chenmunka Mar 14 '14 at 21:04
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    And waiting on is strictly colloquial, not acceptable in formal registers. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 14 '14 at 23:49
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    umm .. no. Wait is intransitive, which is why it requires a preposition phrase as a complement. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 15 '14 at 3:10
  • Unless I was serving you, I would not be waiting on you. Waiting on is used colloquially, but is not correct usage. LINK to question about waiting on – WRX Jan 24 '17 at 18:00

Use a Preposition

Waiting is an intransitive verb. That means it does not1 take a direct object. There is no thing directly affected by the verb, as it is implied that the doer (subject) of the waiting is the one who is affected. If you wish to indicate why the subject is waiting, you do so with a preposition - usually for but occasionally on (see below).


A: She is waiting. [note: We already know what party is affected by there verb - SHE is]

B: Why?

A: She is waiting for a friend to arrive. [The arrival of the friend tells us the circumstances under which the action was performed]

1 I can think of two exceptions: Wait tables, in which wait has a totally different meaning, and wait your turn which is a packaged phrase.

Which Preposition?

Waiting on is sometimes used in American English. It is more a regionalism than a socio-economic indicator. You don't hear it much in the Pacific Northwest, where I live, but in Texas and the Deep South it is more common.

Waiting on sounded good enough to the Grammy award voters who named John Mayer's Waiting on the World to Change the "Best Male Pop Vocal."

There is extended discussion of the regional nature of this over on English.se

My recommendation is that you use wait for. While waiting on is common in some regions, it sounds very weird to people who are not from those regions, whereas everyone is comfortable with wait for.

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  • The question wasn't whether to use "on" vs. "for", but whether to use a preposition at all. (Yes, the answer is obvious to a native speaker, but not so much to a learner, and unfortunately none of the answers so far have explained why the preposition is required.) – Martha Feb 2 '15 at 17:31
  • Also note British group The Rolling Stones' 1981 song Waiting on a Friend – Adam Feb 2 '15 at 17:33
  • @Martha - You're right. So obvious that my mind filled in the missing preposition in his question as on. Thanks - I'll edit. – Adam Feb 2 '15 at 17:35

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