Here is a thing that I see many teachers make a hash of explaining on instagram and it fairly grinds my gears.
To me it is a simple concept to explain, see what you think...
The sentences below are all correct.
(Las siguientes frases son todas correctas.)
She is on the bus.
Michael is on his bike.
Dave is in the car.
Craig is in the bus.
The children are in the plane.
My wife is on the plane
Kerri is always on her skateboard
Why is it in and not on… Aaaarrrrgh!
(Por qué hay una diferencia…. Ay!)
Quick answer: It is all about how you get to the position of riding the vehicle!!
(Respuesta rápida: ¡Se trata de cómo llegas a la posición de manejar el vehículo!)
Let me explain
You are on the bus, train and plane because….
You walk on to a bus
You walk on to a train
You walk on to a plane
However you can’t walk on to a car, uber, taxi or cabify. You have to climb into it, as it is a small enclosed space.
So… you get in the car
We can’t walk on to it. Well, you can but it isn’t normal. Unless you are a cat!
It gets really confusing because they are also all enclosed spaces, so you are in a train, bus, plane and a car/taxi/uber/cabify.
Motor bikes, horses, scooters, skateboards and e-bikes are not enclosed spaces and you mount or get on them only. You can’t be in a bike
Get on the horse
Get on a bike
One of my favourite expressions when someone is annoying me is ‘get on your bike’. I believe there are ruder versions regarding getting on something and pedalling.
Bus: You walk on and it is enclosed = in or on = I am in or on the bus
Train: You walk on and it is enclosed = in or on = I am in or on the train
Plane: You walk on and it is enclosed = in or on = I am in or on the plane
Car: You can’t walk on and you have to get in the small enclosed space = in (only) = I am in the car
Bike/scooter/horse/skateboard: You can’t get in it, so you get on = on (only) = I am on my bike
The opposite works too:
I get off/out of the train/plane/bus
I get out of my car