No way! Using the word ‘way’ (2)

a man looking shocked and disbelieving
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by Liz Walter

My last post looked at some meanings of the word way and how to avoid common mistakes when using it. This post will look at just a few of the very many useful phrases that contain way.

Let’s start with the phrase in the title of these posts: No way! This can either be an emphatic way of saying ‘no’, or an expression of surprise. We also use no way in sentences to show that something is impossible:

“Can I borrow your car?” “No way! You’re a terrible driver!”

“I bumped into Andrew yesterday.” “No way! I haven’t seen him for years.”

There’s no way that box will fit in this space.

There are some very common phrases connected with the idea of having enough space to do something or see something. If someone or something is in the way or in someone’s way, they are blocking someone or something. You might ask them to move/get out of the way:

I wanted to sit down, but Tom’s suitcase was in the way.

Could you move your car, please? You’re in my way.

He asked me to move my books out of the way.

Get out of the way! The ambulance needs to get through!

We use the phrase in a way to make what we are saying slightly less emphatic. In some ways is similar, while in many ways is a little stronger, but still shows some doubt:

In a way, I’m relieved she’s not coming.

In some ways, now is a good time to start a family.

The new job suits me better in many ways, but I’m earning a lot less.

If someone gets/has their own way, they are allowed to do or have what they want, and if someone has it both ways, they get the advantage from two opposite things:

His parents always let him get his own way.

Either you turn up to rehearsals or you leave the show. You can’t have it both ways.

The phrase by the way is used to add an extra piece of information to something you are saying or to change the subject in a conversation:

I bought his new book, which is great by the way.

By the way, have you noticed the new flowerbeds outside the mosque?

If you make your way to a place, you go there. This phrase can also be used for things, to say they have started to be or exist somewhere:

We made our way towards the entrance.

Some of these ideas have made their way into the party’s election manifesto.

There are many more phrases with way – do have a look at the dictionary on this site if you want to learn more, but I hope you will find these a useful selection!

21 thoughts on “No way! Using the word ‘way’ (2)

    1. Liz Walter

      That’s a US phrase – we don’t generally use it here in the UK. But my understanding of it is that it’s an enthusiastic expression of approval or pleasure when someone has done something you like.

      1. Milk

        Hello Liz! I’m interested in the phrases used in the UK. Would you mind showing a few phrases which have similar meanings of those introduced above?

    1. Are you thinking of “going along”? [in which case the “way” is implied]

      Or “Going a long way”? [and/or COMING a long way?].

      A long/along is quite an expression in itself, Steve!

      Someone might also be told to “take a hike”.

    2. Liz Walter

      I think you may mean ‘go a long way’, which can have several meanings, e.g. be sufficient for a long time:’The sun cream’s expensive, but it goes a long way.’ or be effective or useful: ‘A little bit of kindness goes a long way.’

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