Using Wave vs Waive

Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
Using wave and waive correctly can be difficult. Even though they sound the same, the words have very different meanings. In this lesson, you will be able to identify the correct way to use wave and waive.

Technology of the Future

Out there right now is someone who will probably become very rich. In the future, humans will probably use wave technology to gather energy from the ocean. This is energy caused by a wave turning a magnet inside a turbine to create electricity. Whoever makes this technology work must remember to not waive his or her right to a patent, a license giving the inventor ownership of the idea. Without a patent, anyone can develop the idea or use this new wave technology without paying the inventor for it.

Two Words That Sound the Same

English is full of words that sound the same but mean different things. Wave and waive are homophones. These are words that sound alike, but have different spellings and mean something different.

Give the crowd a wave.


Wave means to move back and forth, or to shake something up and down, like your hand.

Wave As A Verb

Wave can function as a verb - a word that shows action.

  • The queen waves at the crowd when she passes. (moves her hand).
  • I wave my hat as a signal that it is safe to move. (move my hat)
  • She waved the paper at the audience when she spoke. (moved the paper)

Wave As A Noun

Wave can function as a noun - a person, place, or thing.

  • A huge wave rolled onto the beach. (a curl of water)
  • The movie star gave a wave as he walked down the red carpet. (a moving hand gesture)
  • We did the wave at the rock show last night. (the simultaneous movement of a large crowd to create the appearance of a wave)

A huge wave.

Wave As An Adjective

Wave can also function as an adjective, a word that describes a noun.

  • My favorite subject in Physics was wave motion. (motion that moves back and forth)


Waive means to give up something, or to let it pass. Usually this 'something' is a right or legal responsibility.

Waive As A Verb

Waive is a transitive verb. A transitive verb usually takes a direct object, which means the verb is done to something.

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