'In Route' or 'En Route’: What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 27, 2023

Wondering whether to spell the phrase ‘in route’ or ‘en route’? You might’ve seen both phrases in your daily life, but which one is correct? And what’s the difference? We’ll answer all of this in detail, plus teach you how to use the correct version in a sentence.

In short, the difference between ‘in route’ and ‘en route’ is:

  • ‘En route’ means on the way.
  • ‘In route’ is the incorrect spelling of ‘en route.’ Therefore, you should never use this spelling of the phrase.

‘In Route’ or ‘En Route’ – Which One Gets You on Your Way?

The correct spelling of the phrase is ‘en route.’ And it means ‘on the way.’ For example, if someone were to say, “I sent you a package. It’s ‘en route,’” it would mean that the package is on its way to you or that they’ve mailed it out and it’s in transit.

‘En Route’ or ‘In Route’ – Which is Correct?

As we mentioned, ‘en route’ is the only correct way to spell the phrase. ‘In route’ is the incorrect way people tend to spell the phrase, but you should avoid it in your writing because it’s incorrect and ungrammatical.

Definition and Meaning of ‘En Route’

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘en route’ is on or along the way.

The Cambridge dictionary defines it as on the way to or from somewhere.

For example, if someone is traveling from Paris to South Africa and they are already on the plane, that means they’re currently ‘en route.’

A Brief History

The first known use of the phrase was in 1779, and it meant the same thing it means today.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘En Route’

Wondering how to pronounce the phrase correctly? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce ‘en route’ correctly, use the phonetic spelling: ON-ROOT

It rhymes with words like flute and shoot.

How to Use ‘En Route’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what the phrase means and how to pronounce it let’s see some examples of how to use it in a sentence correctly.

  • The package I just ordered is en route, according to the postal service.
  • Can you believe my sister is en route to my wedding this weekend?
  • I smelled the bacon all the way from the kitchen, so I knew it was en route.
  • The rabbit is en route to her nest to check on her babies.
  • The uniforms are en route to the school, but there’s been a delay.
  • All right, all right. I know I’m late, but I’m en route now.

Final Thoughts on ‘In Route’ and ‘En Route’

To recap, we learned that ‘en route’ is the only correct way to spell the phrase. ‘In route’ is the incorrect way people tend to spell the phrase.

If you ever forget the meaning or how to use it in a sentence, you can always come back for a quick refresher. We’ve also got a ton of other content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases in the English language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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