Sesiones de Inglés

Profesor de Inglés en Sagrada Familia

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On the bus, but in the taxi? How to understand and use prepositions with transport.

 

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

(Dejame explicar)

 

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.

 



 



So…

 

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


I get off my bike


 
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