Can you wait me for about 30 seconds? We need to wait about 30 seconds.

Is there any rule when to use "for about", and when just "about"? Thank you

2 Answers 2


One of those lovely subtleties in the English.

In both cases the about indicates some slight flexibility in the duration, probably 25 or 35 seconds would still be ok.

Wait 30 seconds implies a pause or delay, whereas wait for 30 seconds implies a duration. For example, you would not say 'push this button 30 seconds', you would say 'push this button for 30 seconds'

The two are mostly interchangeable and any difference is very subtle and depends on what you are trying to say and how.

'I can't wait 30 minutes, i'll be late.' Implies that the delay is important.


'I cant wait for 30 minutes, I'll get bored' Implies the duration is important.


Suppose thatr one had an exact tiem in mind. One might then say

We need to wait for 30 seconds.

Then to express that the time is not exact, this becomes:

We need to wait for about 30 seconds.

Much the same meaning can be expressed with

We need to wait about 30 seconds.

There is no rule That I know of on when to use one form or the other. The version using "for" slightly emphasizes the duration, but that is a very minor nuance.

  • Thank you David. I think the same although in "for about" I hear a bit more uncertainty about time. Maybe it's just my imagination.
    – Mark Shor
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 7:51

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