Am Ende war es besser, als ich es erwartet hatte.

Spanish Translation

Eso terminó mejor de lo que esperaba.

Can I say gewartet instead?
Is there a difference between the two verbs or can they be used interchangeably?

No, “gewartet” does not work here.

They aren’t interchangeable.

  • “etwas erwarten” means “to expect something”
  • “auf etwas warten” means “to wait for something”

In their past tenses:

  • “I expected” → “Ich erwartete”
  • “I waited” → “Ich wartete” or alternatively “Ich habe gewartet”

You could say: “Am Ende war es besser, als das, worauf ich gewartet hatte.”

The difference:

  • Let’s say you order some item X, wait for it, and it’s even better than expected. That would be the original sentence.
  • The sentence I just gave you means: You ordered X, wait for X, but you get a different item Y, which turns out to be better than the item X for which you originally waited.

Another thing: “warten” can have different meanings, depending on the context.

Usually, it means to “wait”. But it could also mean “to maintain”. “Eine Maschine warten” means “to maintain a machine”.

If you say “gewartet” instead of “erwartet”, it means either “to wait for” or “to maintain”, which both don’t make much sense in this sentence.