What do you mean, you “can’t wait?” Obviously, you can!

 

you can wait

Why do people so often, and completely incorrectly, say they “can’t wait” for things? No one ever says this, it seems, unless they already are waiting for whatever they are talking about.

A seasonal example: “I can’t wait for Christmas!”

When I hear this, I generally point out to people that they are already waiting, and therefore, obviously, they can do so.

What is it with this? Why do so many people say this thing that clearly makes no sense at all?

8 thoughts on “What do you mean, you “can’t wait?” Obviously, you can!

  1. You are right. It is just a way of speaking things, it comes from the feeling that you possibily can not wait any longer for christmas – though, obviously so, you can.
    You could say they “don’t want” or “barely” can wait. In Brazil, we say “Mal posso esperar” instead, which roughly translates to “I can hardly wait”, which I think you people use as well?
    It seems most manners of speech are like that.
    – Jo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is where you’ve got to read between the lines. It’s not that people literally “can’t wait” – because of course they can. Instead, people use “I can’t wait” as an expression – it has an underlying meaning that is understood to convey enthusiasm. It also has to do with people’s emotions. People give off nonverbal cues when they say things like “I can’t wait” such as smiling and talking in a lighter tone of voice. One idea would be to practice observing these cues, and connecting them with the emotions that a person might be feeling. This will help you read between the lines a lot better.

    Like

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