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I would like to know the difference between "on the way" and " along the way". After reading this sentence from a story: "As she headed home, she met her friends along the way."I thought why has the writer used " along" and not "on"? Does "on the way" mean at one place/spot and "along the way" mean at different places/spots?

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They basically mean the same thing but are expressed differently. Along the way usually indicates something that happened unexpectedly, such as “along the way [of the journey] she bumped into her childhood friend”. On the way is something that could be intentional or planned like “On the way to the grocery store, we stopped at the post office.” or “We are going to stopover in Colombia on the way to Peru.”

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  • Thanks @user136000 I have got your point.
    – Learner
    May 17, 2021 at 12:34
  • @learner happy to help you!
    – user136000
    May 18, 2021 at 0:25
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on the way and along the way both mean the same thing.

In this question, it could have been "on the way [to a place] or "along the way [to a place].

Please note, however:

  • Going home, I saw them along the way. [the location does not come after along the way here.]

  • I saw them on the way home.

"along the way" is not usually followed by a location. "On the way" can be.

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    Thanks, @Lambie for further explanation.
    – Learner
    May 17, 2021 at 12:33

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