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?

About RobertLovesPi

I go by RobertLovesPi on-line, and am interested in many things, a large portion of which are geometrical. Welcome to my little slice of the Internet. The viewpoints and opinions expressed on this website are my own. They should not be confused with the views of my employer, nor any other organization, nor institution, of any kind.
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8 Responses to What do you mean, you “can’t wait?” Obviously, you can!

  1. swo8 says:

    It is just a matter of anticipation, Robert.


  2. Jo says:

    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

  3. Ben says:

    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.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Hm, than you are in trouble. Let’s say some one is getting on you – will you be able to tell him “Son of a Bitch” if you never met his mother?

    Liked by 1 person

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