How does one decide whether to use bis or auf with warten? For instance, which is correct in this sentence:

Sie wartete auf einen günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

Sie wartete bis einen günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

1 Answer 1


The first one is correct. The second one would need to be:

Sie wartete bis zum günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

There is a very subtle difference in meaning. I believe in English I would translate:

Sie wartete auf ...

She was waiting for ...

Sie wartete bis (zu) ...

She waited until ...

But I'm not 100 % sure about the English tenses (because there isn't much context in your example).

  • Both the tenses would be correct for either phrase in English, it would depend on whether the waiting is "complete" at the time. The main point is warten auf = "to wait for (a person/thing)" and warten bis = "to wait until (an event)".
    – RDBury
    Jun 16 at 6:54
  • Yes, I know. In OP's example I would choose the tenses as given in my answer but it is a bit difficult to decide without additional context.
    – Roland
    Jun 16 at 6:59

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