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English Grammar

EXPECT - HOPE - WAIT (verbs often confused)

How they differ and how to use them.

‘Expect’, ‘hope' and 'wait'  are often confused or misused by learners of English.
These three verbs refer to future events. However, they do not have exactly the same meaning and are therefore not interchangeable.


  • EXPECT :

    We use the verb 'expect' when we have good reason to believe that something will happen or be the case.
    • I’m expecting a phone call from my son. He said he’d call from the airport.
    • At the end of every month, employees expect to be paid their salary.
    • This anti-wrinkle cream is good, but don’t expect a miracle!
    • We expected the hotel to have a restaurant.
    • The work on our house is almost finished. We expect to move in soon.
    • The doctor says he can expect some improvement with the treatment.
    • We look forward to seeing you. We'll be expecting you about 7 pm.

    *Note: to expect a baby means to be pregnant.

  • HOPE :

    We use the verb 'hope' when we want something to happen or would like something to be true.
    'Hope' is often used to express good wishes.
    • Tom went for an interview and he hopes he’ll get the job.
    • I'm crossing my fingers for you!  I hope you succeed!
    • I hope your Dad recovers quickly from his illness.
    • Have a good holiday! We hope you enjoy your trip to Egypt.
    • They already have a boy so they hope the new baby will be a girl.
    • We hope to see you all next summer.
    • They hope the economy is going to improve.

  • WAIT :

    When we 'wait', we let a period of time pass until something happens or someone comes.
    It implies being patient, or staying in a certain place until something occurs.
    • Emily waited outside the cinema until the door opened.
    • Dad’s waiting for the postman. He usually arrives around 10 a.m.
    • It’s raining. Just wait here while I get the car.
    • I made some phone calls while I waited for our furniture to be delivered.
    • Sam applied for an internship and he's waiting for a reply.
    • Dad has had a check-up and he's waiting for the results.

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