Why path? (...which ran down the mountain slopes burning everything in its path.)

Hi there!
Please have a look at this sentence:
‘Hot gases burst out, followed by hot ash, which ran down the mountain slopes burning everything in its PATH’.
Why use ‘path’ here? Why don’t we use ‘way’ or ‘route’?
Can anyone tell me the differences between these words?
Many thanks! :smiley:

Hi Rebecca,

‘Way’ is a very general word for direction and occurs in these phrases: this way, way out, way to the shops and so on.
‘Route’ is usually something that has been worked out in advance by you or another person to follow.
‘Path’ is very often a narrow way along, to or through somewhere and has been created by people walking along it for a long time as in ‘footpath’

The word ‘path’ is also frequently used to describe the particular direction taken by natural phenomena such as lava from an erupting volcano or the direction a hurricane or violent wind is travelling.

Alan

Thank you, Alan! And have a nice day!

By the way, should we omit the second comma in the original sentence?

Hi Nessie,

Sharp observation. The second comma isn’t needed as the relative ‘which’ is a defining relative.

Alan

That’s right. I must be more careful, right? :smiley: