Wie kann man einem Franzosen den Unterschied zwischen erwarten und warten erklären?

Im Französischen nutzt man für beide Wörter attendre.

Als Beispiel bereiten mir besonders das Erwarten eines Gastes und das Warten auf einen Gast Kopfschmerzen.


2 Answers 2


Well, warten is the state of doing nothing until a certain condition is fulfilled1.
Warten is intransitive. This means, you don't apply an object to it. Hence, you don't know what you are waiting for. If you, however, want to add this information, you can use the preposition auf and add the object or you use erwarten, which is transitive and expects an object.

The subtle difference between warten auf and erwarten is that the latter one does not really convey the idea of doing nothing until the condition is fulfilled. It's more like looking forward to something happening. Thus, you can say Ich erwarte einen Gast a week before they arrive, but you would say Ich warte auf meinen Gast a couple of minutes before they arrive.

Last but not least, don't forget that both words have one other meaning. Warten can also mean to repair and erwarten has also the meaning of to demand, which is also true for the English word to expect.

1 Of course, you often fill up the waiting time with doing some minor things that you can stop at any time.


Wenn der Franzose Englisch kann: warten auf = to wait for, erwarten = to expect (not in the pregnancy sense).

  • Ich glaube "der Franzone" hat das gleiche Problem mit expect/wait, aber ich kann's probieren.
    – Patrick B.
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 7:43
  • @PatrickB I'm not great at German, but based on this answer, maybe warten auf = attendre and erwarten = s'attendre à?
    – Benjol
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 9:29

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