There are many expressions using the word “way.”
First of all, “way” means a road, path, or direction.
So when we are lost or when we don’t know where we are, we usually say:
Could you please tell me the way to the subway station?
Aside from this, it’s common for English-speakers to say:
I think I’m lost. I don’t know the way from here.
I don’t think this is the right way.
I can’t find my way back to the mall.
Excuse me. Which is the way out?
The word “way” can also mean the method that you use to do something or to get something.
What’s the best way to get a lot of money?
Frank Sinatra and His Way
You are probably familiar with the famous American singer Frank Sinatra.
Frank Sinatra had a rich career as a singer for at least 60 years (from 1935 to 1995). Sure, he is more popular among the older crowd, the older generation; but I’m certain that you’ve heard his song “My Way.”
“My Way” is considered to be the most covered song in history. This means that this song has been performed or recorded by so many other artists.
The song tells the story of an old man who, being close to dying, thinks about his life. He is satisfied with the way (how) he dealt with all the difficulties of life. Because he has always acted according to his morality and principles. He has always been honest and strong about what he believed was right.
Five words in the lyrics keep on repeating and they are the most important part of the song:
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do , I saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
And through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
"Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way"
“I did it my way.” These five words mean that the character in the song went his own way and didn’t follow other people’s paths. He made his own choices and lived his life in the way that he wanted to.
As you can see, “way” also means the manner or style that someone does something or that something happens.
In spoken English, we also use “way” to express that we will definitely not do or allow a situation to happen.
A: Can I borrow some money?
B: No way!
(This is the short version. The complete sentence is “There’s no way that I will lend you money.”)
A: Are you attending your ex-girlfriend’s wedding?
B: No way!
(This is the short version. The complete sentence is “There’s no way that I am attending my ex-girlfriend’s wedding.”)
As you can feel, there is emphasis (a stronger stress) in the expression “No way” above.
All our previous examples are just a few of the many expressions that include the word “way.” Today, we won’t be able to learn all these expressions, so we will concentrate on only some other useful phrases.
Today we are going to learn:
(1) In the way
(2) On the way
(3) By the way
(4) In a way
1. In the Way
“Way” can mean the space or area in front of a person. So if you say that someone or something is “in the way,” this means that they are blocking the space in front of you and you cannot move forward.
There is another car in the way.
There is a fallen tree in the way.
Can I move your bags? They’re in my way.
“In the way” also means that someone or something is in the area that you are using. They are in the same place as you and they make it difficult for you to do something.
You’re in my way. ( = This can be impolite)
You’ll be in the way if you stand in the kitchen.
You’ll get in the way if you stay here.
I’m sorry. Am I in your way?
In this case, you can tell the other person:
Get out of the way.
Get out of my way.
But these expressions are too strong and direct so they can be rude. Instead, you can say simply:
2. On the Way
This expression has many other different versions, but they all have similar meanings:
on the way
along the way
on someone’s way
on the way to + place
on the way out / home
All of them mean that you are travelling towards a place.
She’s already on the way here.
Dad should be on the way to the office by now.
Hello? Yes, please wait. I’m on my way.
It can also mean “during the trip” or “while going from one place to another.”
We ran out of gas on our way to the beach.
I bumped into an old friend on the way home.
We saw a terrible car accident on the way here.
Ok. I’ll drop by the supermarket along the way.
3. By the Way
“By the way” is the easiest of all our phrases. It's used especially in spoken English. People say this when they want to introduce a new or extra comment into a conversation.
In other words, you can use “By the way” when you want to say something that isn’t related to the main subject that you were talking about before.
By the way, I haven’t seen James lately.
By the way, I might be late for your party on Saturday.
4. In a Way
“In a way” means one part of something that is true. Or, according to one opinion or point of view.
Imagine a diamond:
A diamond has many parts or faces. Something can also have many facts or features, and not all of them are true, good etc.
Here are other similar versions of the expression “in a way”:
in a way
in one way
in that way
in some ways
in many ways
in more ways than one
in every way
In a way, I agree with you.
In one way, you’re right, I guess.
My parents never try to control me. They are great in that way.
The English language is limited in some ways.
Living together before getting married is right, in many ways.
The project was a great success, in more ways than one.
They are a good match in every way.
Hope You Learned Something!