Some weeks ago I was in BC, Canada and I saw a lady walking her dog and I asked if I could take a picture with her dog. She was genuinely kind, even asking me if I wanted to get hold of a leash, and when I stood up after having taken a picture, she asked if I wanted to go down the lake with the dog. I said "(It's okay) you can go on your way" as when I first met her she was not going to the same way I was and I didn't want to take more of her time, but after we parted I wondered, was it a polite thing to say? Most cases I've seen it is used as in "none of your business, you go on your way" and obviously I didn't mean like hit the road..! I wonder if the expression has some impolite connotations, and additionally what was better way to say what I wanted to mean?

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    It is never polite to tell fellow citizens what they should be doing. That requires authority of some kind. – Nigel J Mar 4 '18 at 8:00

Confusing, at best. Grammatically there is nothing to choose but semantically, the difference could cause wars!

You seem to have meant something like "Don't let me keep you from (going on) your way."

At very best - not certainly - a policeman might get away with "Go on your way" to anyone, including a respected citizen.

Similarly, a thug might use "Go on your way" to mean "Clear (or worse) off/get lost…"

  • Yes, you said it right! I meant to say Don't let me -. I think I need to read idioms.. at this very moment I also want to say something like that was 'tingling on my tongue( I don't know if this is English but in my mother tongue )' or 'almost come to my throat'(this definitely not English expression ),when you're struggling for right words to say, but short of words, not by emotion but by lack of literature.. well said! – hermes Mar 17 '18 at 8:20

No, thank you, you have been more than kind.

Thank you, I have imposed upon you enough.

Your concerns are well founded. We all can become lost for the correct words in spontaneous situations. What you said at the time was not what you would have said had you been anticipating the lady's question. A lesson we all should take is not to be quick to respond.

you can go on your way

is probably not what you would have said had you thought on a response for a couple of seconds, and you seemed to understand that almost immediately. It is not correct to give instructions unless asked for them, unless you are charged with doing so by a position you hold. An exception would be emergencies when correctness can be suspended (get down!, watch out!, for example)

  • Thank you. So giving instructions itself is not advisable and "go on your way" the expression itself does not necessarily have negative connotation, although the context it's usually combined with makes it not the wisest thing to say, can it be concluded? – hermes Mar 5 '18 at 12:48
  • about the response you mentioned I'm a bit lost as in what a english speaker would have answered? If I heard that I would have said okay thank you bye..:) I hope my body language &nonverbal expression set the tone of what I meant to mean! – hermes Mar 5 '18 at 12:57
  • "go on your way" is giving instructions to somebody. I would not do that unless I was supervising that person. I would stop being concerned about the specific event, but be ready in the future. A simple, "no, thank you" would be OK – J. Taylor Mar 5 '18 at 17:12

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