a ship sails, a car goes, a plane flies?

wolfbm1

Senior Member
Polish
Hello,
I encountered the following statement: "This Electric Car Goes On Air, Sea And Land."
What about planes? Do planes go on air? OR Do planes fly in air? OR Both.
Do ships go on sea / water? OR Do ships sail on water? OR Both.

One would expect that cars can only go on land, but apparently they can also go on air and sea.

Can one use "go" with planes and ships?
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Wolf. I think you can use "go" with just about anything that moves. As you've noted, we have other verbs that describe more accurately just what type of motion is involved. I suspect the original statement used "goes" exactly because the vehicle moves in the air, on the sea, and on land. In such a statement "go" is a good verb because it's not specifically tied to motion on or through any particular surface or medium. By the way, where did you encounter this statement? If you're quoting any source, then you should give the name of the writer and the title of the text you're quoting. :)
     

    cmarx

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Personally, I would never say "a plane goes in the air." If I were on the ground and observed a plane moving really fast, I might say "Look at that plane go!" For that matter, you can apply that to anything under that circumstance. For example, at a track meet you might look at the person in first place and say "Look at that guy go!" (another fun one is "He's flyin'!")

    But to answer your original question, when speaking generally about planes, I would use the more specific verb (fly) because "goes" is very general and can mean a lot of different things. For instance, "a plane goes in the air" can also mean "a plane belongs in the air."

    As for boats, however, I would use go. "Sail" makes me think of sailboats (modern) or the Mayflower (back in the old days).

    Ex: The cruise ship went to Costa Rica.

    I hope I haven't confused you too much by being painfully meticulous.
     
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    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Not at all. Thank you for the insight. That's very interesting that a ship goes to a place or a ship goes on the sea. I always felt safer with: a ship sails, a ship travels or a ship floats on water. Now I understand that "go" is a good verb to describe the movement of ships. In my mother tongue ships kind of "swimm" on water - the one with a propeller. And I usually associate "go" with the movement we, the human beings, make - in the sense of "walk" rather. That's why I was confused.
    And I understand that planes usually fly in the air.
    The statement: "This Electric Car Goes On Air, Sea And Land." I found here: http://alttransport.com/2010/10/this-electric-car-goes-on-air-sea-and-land/
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Not at all. Thank you for the insight. That's very interesting that a ship goes to a place or a ship goes on the sea. I always felt safer with: a ship sails, a ship travels or a ship floats on water. Now I understand that "go" is a good verb to describe the movement of ships. In my mother tongue ships kind of "swimm" on water - the one with a propeller. And I usually associate "go" with the movement we, the human beings, make - in the sense of "walk" rather. That's why I was confused.
    And I understand that planes usually fly in the air.
    The statement: "This Electric Car Goes On Air, Sea And Land." I found here: http://alttransport.com/2010/10/this-electric-car-goes-on-air-sea-and-land/
    Just remember, Wolf, that "go" isn't as specific as the other verbs that we use with ships: sails, cruises, steams, floats, etc. It's often advisable to use the most descriptive verb you can when you're telling a story.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thank you, owlman. You gave me food for thought. Thanks to you I got an idea to look for something about "locomotin" by water or air and I found this:
    "Animal locomotion on the surface layer of water
    While animals like ducks can swim in water by floating, some small animals move across it without breaking through the surface." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_locomotion
    I wonder if ducks can go on water. Hmmm... Probably when they go really fast, the way rockets go.
    Apart from locomotion, I found a lot under the search heading "navigation synonyms".
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You can certainly say that ducks go on water, in the air, and on the land. We generally say that they swim, fly, and waddle. :)
     

    Chainlight

    New Member
    English - Canada
    Even saying a car goes on land is a bit unusual and awkward. I'd say the writer took a shortcut, and used go despite its inelegance because it's general enough to describe land, sea and air motion, rather than having to specify driving, flying and sailing/floating/motoring for each.
     
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    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    You seldom say what vehicles (or other means of transportatin) do. Because it should be obvious. Except when you need to explain it to some kind of an alien or child and then you say: A ship goes on water and a sheep says baa. I'm like an alien too. At least as far as English is concerned. But I learn here a lot.
    Usually I need to say what I do with a vehicle. So I know I can say: I drive a car to work. But when it came to saying what a vehicle did - I was not sure. At least, now, I know that:

    a car drives on land
    a ship goes on water AND
    a plane flies in the air

    I still might be at a loss with other vehicles but I hope I will learn that too.
    (I did not know that I could motor to work or I could drive a motorboat.)
     
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    Sikaranista

    Senior Member
    American English
    Since it sounds like a discussion of transportation, I'd use a form of the verb to travel rather than to go.

    A plane travels in the air.
    A car travels on land.
    A boat travels in the water.
    A train travels on rails.

    This electric car travels on land, in the water, and in the air.
     

    I_Daniel

    Member
    Afrikaans/South African English
    This looks like a bad choice of words for the advertisement.
    Wow if it goes on air I want it yesterday. Goes on air says that it is the fuel it uses. (I think?)
    The advertiser was using a shortcut to use the minimum words as a catch phrase.
    Maybe the advertisement should have read:- "With this Electric car you can travel on land, sea and in the air"

    "a ship sails, an aircraft flies". I would say this is the correct usage.
    "a car goes on land". Seems more correct, but not 100%.
    "A car drives". No the driver drives not the car.
    "A car travels on land". No you travel by car.
    I am stuck with the car, but I still think the advertiser meant you can "travel on..." etc
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "A car drives". No the driver drives not the car.
    Thank you for the correction, I_Daniel.
    Does "goes on air" really mean "burns air"?
    And Sikaranista, thank you for mentioning a boat and train.
     
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    cmarx

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Since it sounds like a discussion of transportation, I'd use a form of the verb to travel rather than to go.

    A plane travels in the air.
    A car travels on land.
    A boat travels in the water.
    A train travels on rails.

    This electric car travels on land, in the water, and in the air.
    To me this is perfect if wanting to use a general verb.

    ....as for the verbs that fit with a car... I think you can say a car drives because a car can drive well (meaning it handles well), and I think it's perfectly acceptable to say that a car travels on land--or perhaps, on the highway or road. If I were recounting a story, though, I'd say "so the car was going down the street when x happened."
    Just contemplation, though. No absolute laws here.
     

    I_Daniel

    Member
    Afrikaans/South African English
    To say "goes on air" does imply it is the fuel it uses. But that was not the real meaning of the advertiser so I used it as a joke.
    It is like other advertisements which say an electrical generator using a petrol driven motor is a petrol generator. Which also implies that it generates petrol and not electricity. A petrol driven generator, although not 100% correct would have been more correct.

    Goes "in" water could mean it is a submarine. Although a portion of a ship is in the water and the other above the water, we normally say a boat sails "on" the water.
    "On" would therefore refer to the surface of the land or sea and "In" when you are surrounded by water or air.

    The use of these words in everyday usage in various contexts has been very well described in the replies. This means how the word was used and what was meant at that time. Good examples are
    1.) that car really goes; which refers to the speed of the car.
    2.) A car drives well; which refers to how you experience driving that car.

    To try and fix words to a specific meaning detracts from our poetic thoughts and humor, so please always remember that the use of the same words can differ in other parts of the world and even local usage can differ. I can therefore only say how it is used locally. The crux of the matter is nevertheless the more you read the more you learn not only about word usage but how different people see things. Reading is the best vocabulary and knowledge booster that can be found and forums like this one is a boon to all.
     
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    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    To say "goes on air" does imply it is the fuel it uses. But that was not the real meaning of the advertiser so I used it as a joke.
    Okey, I got it now.
    And it's OK to joke. I understand why you joked. Something jarred your ears. Sometimes you get things across faster when you use humour. I hope I don't sound too serious.
    remember that the use of the same words can differ in other parts of the world and even local usage can differ.
    Yes, I realise that. It complicates things a bit. But : "Variety is the spice of life". So you say: "a ship sails, an aircraft flies". And Peter Watcyn-Jones says: "A ship goes on the water". Source: "Test Your Vocabulary 1" by Peter Watcyn-Jones, published by Penguin English, p.80 ( In this book, there is an exercise where you've got four words: car, bus, ship, lorry. One word shouldn't be there. It's of course "ship" because: "A ship goes on the water." and not a car, bus or lorry. I wondered what sentences you can make with the other words. I think: A car, bus, or lorry travels on land or belongs to land.).
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Did you mean "sail" and "fly" as in the following sentence: "Thirty years after the movie thriller ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ hit the silver screen “sQuba” is the first car that can actually ‘fly’ under water.". Source: http://rinspeed.com/pages/content/frames_e.htm (click : Concept Cars, then click: Rinspeed sQuba - and: Text).
    No. The verbs sail and fly, meaning move swiftly and smoothly, can be used of machines that remain on the earth's surface.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    The verbs sail and fly, meaning move swiftly and smoothly, can be used of machines that remain on the earth's surface.
    Se16teddy, thank you for the explanation. I got it now.So you can say, eg.: Yesterday I saw a nice Porsche sailing along our street.
    I found another example on the Net:
    "The MG had gained a quarter mile in this manner and Buzz was thankful for the radial tires and front and rear anti-roll bars he had put on the car a few years back. He was flying along the twisting road, downshifting, cornering, accelerating and all the while planning his route ahead." Source: http://www.mgexperience.net/article/nice-drive.html
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Telling someone your car runs or is running is, to me, implying that it works and that either at some point it didn't or it is at risk of breaking down. Another meaning of to run is to be fueled by (in addition to goes). Ex: My car runs on diesel.
    Yes, in the above sentence the car gets its power from diesel.
    But I've just found this:
    "The river is like a highway. Tourist boats run up and down the Thames passing landmarks like the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's Cathedral." Source:http://www.pearsonlongman.com/totalenglish1e/pdfs/resources/pre-intermediate/preint_DVDscript.pdf
    So the boats operate regularly the way busses do. I think I coud say: "Some cars run up and down the street delivering goods."
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Telling someone your car runs or is running is, to me, implying that it works and that either at some point it didn't or it is at risk of breaking down. Another meaning of to run is to be fueled by (in addition to goes). Ex: My car runs on diesel.
    I have left my car/engine running to warm it up or my car runs better when the engine is warm is/was fairly normal UK-EN. Mind you I take that sort of thing for granted so I mostly think it, not say it. I have no idea if it is still in fashion.

    GF..

    Some Brits do say funny things....... :D
     
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