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I'm a Spanish native speaker. I'm learning English and I want to know the difference between using "in the way" and "on the way".

I want to know the real meaning of both phrases.

PS: Sorry for my bad English.

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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

"In the way" means that something is an obstacle. For example, "I can't move my car because that truck is in the way".

"On the way" means that something, or someone, is in the process of reaching a goal, or a destination. For example, "I called her to let her know I was on my way to Madrid". Another: "After the initial meeting, I told the boss that we are on the way to meeting the first deadline".

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In the way is used for obstacles.

I couldn’t get the car out because those boxes were in the way. Please move a bit – you are in my way. (= You are stopping me from getting where I want to.) On the way means ‘during the journey or movement’. It can also mean ‘coming’.

Summer is on the way. (Summer is coming.) Her fifth baby is on the way. (Her fifth baby is coming.) We had our lunch on the way. (We had our lunch during the journey.)

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