Quick answer
"Look forward to" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "tener muchas ganas de", and "can't wait" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "no poder esperar". Learn more about the difference between "look forward to" and "can't wait" below.
look forward to(
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to await eagerly)
a. tener muchas ganas de
I'm looking forward to meeting you in person.Tengo muchas ganas de conocerte en persona.
b. estar deseando
I'm looking forward to seeing the new movie on Friday.Estoy deseando ver la nueva película viernes.
c. esperar
Thank you for such a wonderful time. I look forward to being able to see you again.Gracias por este rato tan agradable. Espero poder volver a verte.
d. desear
My cousins are looking forward to Christmas to see all the presents they'll receive.Mis primos desean la llegada de la Navidad para ver todos los regalos que recibirán.
A word or phrase restricted in usage to literature or established writing (e.g. sex, once upon a time).
(in letters)
a. quedar a la espera
Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your reply.Gracias por considerar mi solicitud. Quedo a la espera de su respuesta.
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can't wait(
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (to anticipate eagerly)
a. no poder esperar
Jamal can't wait until his cousin's birthday party.Jamal no puede esperar a la fiesta de cumpleaños de su primo.
2. (not to be able to delay)
a. no poder esperar
Edith can't wait any longer. She has to leave right now.Edith no puede esperar más. Tiene que irse ahora mismo.
3. (not to be able to hold on)
a. no poder esperar
We can't wait until next week to resolve this. Let's talk now.No podemos esperar hasta la semana que viene para resolverlo. Hablemos ahora.
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