a new ship set off from England to America on/for its first trip

brian&me

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Hi, everyone.

The following sentence if from a textbook.

One afternoon in April 1912, a new ship set off from England to America on its first trip.

I wonder if on its first trip could be replaced by for its first trip.

Thanks a lot in advance.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    One afternoon in April 1912, a new ship set off from England to America on its first trip.
    I wonder if on its first trip could be replaced by for its first trip.
    The most common usage of for/on includes:
    - on a trip
    - for a ride
    - on a journey
    - on a voyage

    But "for" makes sense here. It just changes the meaning a little. It would be more natural in this sentence:

    "They chose a transatlantic voyage for its first trip."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Thanks, Glasguensis.
    I wonder if on its first trip is an adverbial of purpose.
    I don't think so. I looked up the term "adverbial of purpose" and found:

    This adverbial answers the identifying questions what for? for what purpose? It is most frequently expressed by an infinitive, an infinitive phrase or complex. The adverbial of purpose may also be expressed by a noun, a prepositional phrase, nominal or gerundial, introduced by the preposition for. (source: The adverbial of purpose — Студопедія)

    In "on its first trip" there is no verb at all. The sentence does not say that the trip's purpose was "to be its first trip". This trip's purpose was the same as every later trans-atlantic trip. This was just the first trip, because the ship was new.

    "They chose a transatlantic voyage for its first trip."
    I think in this alternative sentence, the "for" prepositional phrase qualifies as an adverbial of purpose.
     
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