Unit 46 Transport prepositions

Main points

* This includes phrases like: `by bus’, `in a car’, `on the plane’, and `off the train’.

* You can use `by’ with most forms of transport.

* You use `in’, `into’, and `out of’ with cars.

* You normally use `on’, `onto’, and `off’ with other forms of transport.

1 When you talk about the type of vehicle or transport you use to travel somewhere, you use `by’.

by bus, by bicycle, by car, by coach, by plane, by train

She had come by car with her husband and her four children.
I left Walsall in the afternoon and went by bus and train to Nottingham.

WARNING: If you want to say you walk somewhere, you say you go `on foot’. You do not say `by foot’.

Marie decided to continue on foot.

2 You use `in’, `into’, and `out of’ when you are talking about cars, vans, lorries, taxis, and ambulances.
I followed them in my car.
The carpets had to be collected in a van.
Mr Ward happened to be getting into his lorry.
She was carried out of the ambulance and up the steps.

3 You use `on’, `onto’, and `off’ when you are talking about other forms of transport, such as buses, coaches, trains, ships, and planes.
Why don’t you come on the train with me to New York?
Peter Hurd was already on the plane from California.
The last thing he wanted was to spend ten days on a boat with Hooper.
He jumped back onto the old bus, now nearly empty.
Mr Bixby stepped off the train and walked quickly to the exit.

You can use `in’, `into’, and `out of’ with these other forms of transport, usually when you are focusing on the physical position or movement of the person, rather than stating what form of transport they are using.
The passengers in the plane were beginning to panic.
He got back into the train quickly, before Batt could stop him.
We jumped out of the bus and ran into the nearest shop.