en route / on the way

ridgemao

Senior Member
Chinese - Mandarin
Hello:


My oxford dictionary says,
en route: (from French) on the way; while traveling from/ to a particular place.
It also gives a sample sentence:
We stopped for a picnic en route.


Can I say "We stopped for a picnic on the way"?
Are "on the way" and "en route" interchangeable here? Can I use "on the way" without a specific destination(e.g. on the way home)?


Thank you.
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    As I'm not quite sure how understandable the French phrase "en route" will be to most AE speakers (who are often innocent of any language but English). I'd use "on the way." There's no need to have a specific destination in mind.
     
    Last edited:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Intersting difference between US and UK.
    I think en route is used in the UK, being no more alien than other anglicised "foreign" words like gateaux or pyjama and needing no specific language coaching.

    And yes, I think you can use on the way without specifying a destination.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    We stopped for a picnic en route.

    Can I say "We stopped for a picnic on the way"?
    Are "on the way" and "en route" interchangeable here? Can I use "on the way" without a specific destination(e.g. on the way home)?
    Your question means that you do not really understand the difference. Therefore I would suggest that you stick to on the way. Nevertheless, if en route is really appropriate, then use it.

    GF..

    I use either:- but then my choice of words is somewhat weird: simply because I live in France.. :eek:
    As a general rule, if you are in doubt; use the English wording: not the foreign.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    George French, are you saying that there IS a difference between en route and on the way? I do not know what that would be ... terms of English usage and the dictionary examples in the OP.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    George French, are you saying that there IS a difference between en route and on the way? I do not know what that would be ... terms of English usage and the dictionary examples in the OP.
    The roots of en route and on the way are from two different languages. That is a significant difference. Nevertheless, their meanings are (effectively) the same.

    GF..

    Nevertheless using loan words are often a problem. Just like thousands of other Foreign words that we have stuffed into the English language. Ciao :).
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    So that's a NO then, for the purposes of the OP and his question there is no difference.
    For clarity, this comment is not relevant to the question posed:
    Your question means that you do not really understand the difference.
    since the etmology makes no difference at all to how the words are used in modern English.
     
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