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what do these mean: way back, way up, way above, way ahead? Are the commonly used? And are they used in the American English?
Sep 23, 2019 6:44 PM
Answers · 3
We go way back -> we've known each other for a long time: very common in general usage way up -> That is the only expression, that is not commonly used, or at least not that much. I cannot think of any colloquial expression with way up, but you could use it in the following sentences: The balloon went way up, and disappeared into the clouds. He looked way up, but could not see anything. We went way up, but Mr. Jenkins wasn't home. way above -> This is way above your paygrade: This is none of your business / you have no clearance to know about this topic. Commonly used especially in crime TV shows ;) way ahead: I am way ahead of you, I have already called her! -> I am one step ahead/ I have already taken the initiative. Very common in general usage
September 23, 2019
Yes these are very commonly used in American English, mostly in casual conversation. Way means very, but it is more informal to say way than very. Way back means far back, and it can be used to refer to things that happened a long time ago also. The others are similar and you can understand them by using very instead of way.
September 23, 2019
Good question. These can have multiple meanings. I've listed a few of the most common. Yes, we use these a lot in American English. Way back = either "a long time ago" (speaking about time) or "far behind us" (speaking about space). An example of the first, "I know him from way back." (I have known him a long time). For the second, "The fat man is way back at the start of the race while the athletes are already finishing." way up = very far up "The temperature is way up today." It can also be about location/distance. "The goat is way up the mountain." way above = beyond current ability or high above you. "Shakespeare is way above the ability of beginner English learners" (and most natives for that matter ;-) ). For the second, "5,000 meters is way above sea level!" way ahead = either advanced in ability or in distance. "He is way ahead of his class. He read Shakespeare by himself!" or "The hare is way ahead of the tortoise."
September 23, 2019
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