Tuesday, 5 May 2015


The Spanish verb "ESPERAR" has three different counterparts in English:

  • We use it to say that we believe that something will happen:
She's expecting a second baby. (EXPECT + OBJECT)
We expect to move into our new flat next week. (EXPECT + TO INFINITIVE)
We expected that the guest house would have much better rooms. (EXPECT + THAT CLAUSE)
The company expects her to be early. (EXPECT + OBJECT + TO INFINITIVE).

  • It also means "think / suppose". It is not commonly used in the continuous form:

Will he have bought the necklace by now?
I expect so. (I think so)

  • It is commonly used in a negative form to express that something will not happen or is not true:

I don't expect she will pass the exam.


  • We use it when we don't know whether something will happen or not but we want it to happen:
I think you were hoping to see your family next week. (HOPE + TO INFINITIVE)
I hope that your sister recovers quickly from the accident. (HOPE + THAT CLAUSE)
We've already got two boys so we're hoping for a girl. (HOPE + FOR)

  • We also use it to express good intentions and wishes for the future:
I hope we can see each other soon.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Greece.


  • We use it when we refer to letting time pass because we are expecting that something is going to happen.

Just wait here with the bags and I'll go and get a taxi. (WAIT + IMPERATIVE)
When the band arrived at the concert hall, a large crowd of screaming fans were waiting to greet them. (WAIT + TO INFINITIVE).
They're waiting for him to make up his mind and won't do anything until he does. (WAIT + FOR + OBJECT + TO INFINITIVE)

  • We don't use WAIT / WAIT FOR to say that we believe that something will happen, but EXPECT:
People usually expect holidays to revive their spirits and renew their souls.

  • We don't use EXPECT to refer to time passing when we are talking about something that we hope is going to happen, but WAIT:

I look forward very much to hearing from you soon, and I wait anxiously for a positive answer.

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