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On the Way

weather: cloudy
outside: 12°C
mood: giggly
Preamble — Work, Home and Gas Station are almost exactly in a straight line, approximate distances are as in the following not-to-scale diagram:


W ----------------------- H ------ G

While carpooling to work with the userinfoHusband Guy one morning —

Me: Hey, the empty light is on. We should get gas on the way home.
Him: "On the way"? There isn't a gas station on the way home.
Me: The Chevron at 41st.
Him: That's not "on the way".
Me: Yes, it is.
Him: No, it's not.
Me: Well, there's no gas station between Work and Home.
Him: So, we'll go to the Chevron at 41st.
Me: Right. We'll go on the way home.
Him: It's not on the way!
Me: Yes, it is! It's TEMPORALLY on the way!
Him: That's not what "on the way" means. Tell you what. Post this on your LiveJournal and see what it means to everybody else, as opposed to <condescension>what it means to you</condescension>.

At that point, I'm glad we were at a red light because we were laughing so hard I couldn't drive. I cut the conversation down to bare essentials. There was a lot more in that exchange, including insults to each other's intelligence, play fighting, we stopped to get gum, etc.

So, I put it to you, Gentle Readers.

Poll #267404 "On The Way"

Can I use "on the way" in the temporal sense?

Yes
26(74.3%)
No
6(17.1%)
Depends on the situation. [Please explain in comments.]
3(8.6%)

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
brokenclay_
Mar. 23rd, 2004 01:42 pm (UTC)
Depends on the situation
This is a grammer problem.

"On our way home, let's stop at the gas station" is okay - it implies that you will combine your trip to your home with a detour to the gas station. "On the way" modifies the trip.

"Let's stop at the gas station that's on our way home" is not ok - now "on the way" modifies the gas station, and that's just not true.

Colloquially speaking, I think Husband Guy's statement was fine.

Katja
bride
Mar. 24th, 2004 08:31 am (UTC)
Re: Depends on the situation
Re: modifying the trip vs. modifying the gas station

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Katja! =)
incognita
Mar. 23rd, 2004 02:20 pm (UTC)
"on the way home" means "in a trip before we stop at home for the night". Whether or not W, H & G are in a straight line.
timwi
Mar. 23rd, 2004 04:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, so the answer depends on the time of day as well? ;-)
bride
Mar. 23rd, 2004 07:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I get 100 daytime usage instances of "on the way" per month but free unlimited evenings and weekends.
kat_box
Mar. 23rd, 2004 04:47 pm (UTC)
Well now...
As far as I'm concerned (grammar pickiness aside), if you're going to stop someplace before you arrive home then it's "on the way". It may not be along the direct route you take, in which case it's a round-about trip home (commonly referred to as the scenic route).
bdspitapit31
Mar. 23rd, 2004 08:01 pm (UTC)
Those are the BEST kind of "arguements." Oh, I love 'em I love 'em I love 'em. :)
brokenclay_
Mar. 24th, 2004 10:13 am (UTC)
What are you going to tell HG?
Now the really important question is, are you going to tell HG that his way of putting it has a 75% approval rating?
Katja
bride
Mar. 24th, 2004 10:28 am (UTC)
Re: What are you going to tell HG?
That's actually my 75% approval rating. He's the one who said "on the way home" was wrong =)

So it's simple. "I win" =D =D
brokenclay_
Mar. 24th, 2004 10:45 am (UTC)
Re: What are you going to tell HG?
Dang. Usually I'm so good at details, too :-).
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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bride
The Bride of the First House

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