JS async/await – why does await need async?

I’m not privy to the JavaScript language design discussions, but I assume it’s for the same reasons that the C# language requires async (also see my blog).


  1. Backwards compatibility. If await was suddenly a new keyword everywhere, then any existing code using await as a variable name would break. Since await is a contextual keyword (activated by async), only code that intends to use await as a keyword will have await be a keyword.
  2. Easier to parse. async makes asynchronous code easier to parse for transpilers, browsers, tools, and humans.

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