Cycle through/down/along

Hotmale

Senior Member
Polish
Is there any difference between "cycle through the streets" and "cycle down/along the streets"?

Is it possible to use all the three prepositions in this sentence:

"Mike cycled ........ the narrow streets of Dubrovnik".

Thank you
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'd be more likely to use through the streets of Dubrovnik rather than either of the others. I'd cycle down (or along) the street (singular). I would never use cycle down the streets of ... . It's possible that I might say cycle along the streets of ... , but it's nowhere near as likely as using through. Through does, however, suggest that I might be wandering through the town rather than going somewhere with a purpose.
     

    Hotmale

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thanks, Andyc, but why "down" or "along" doesn't sound good?
    Is it your own preference?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Thanks, Andyc, but why "down" or "along" doesn't sound good? ...
    I can't say about "along," but to me "down" doesn't sound as good because it suggests (as does "up") moving in a single direction. The direction doesn't have to be vertically down, or even involve any loss of altitude, but there's only one direction. That's why "cycling down the street" works, but "cycling down the streets" doesn't. It would be the same for walking, driving, crawling, hopping, cartwheeling, or any other form of motion.
     

    Hotmale

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, but "down" doesn't indicate altitude in this context. Is means the same as "along".
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, I can walk down a/the street even if the street is level, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to cycle down a street of Dubrovnik, but when it comes to streets it suddenly implies a general direction.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, but "down" doesn't indicate altitude in this context. Is means the same as "along".
    But it doesn't quite mean the same. I think I agree with Egmont and PaulQ (but he seems to have left a down out of his posting). For me not only does "down the streets of Dubrovnik" have a strong inference of direction, it also seems an unnatural way of writing or speaking. Down the (singular) street has no particular sense of direction, unless it is a hill.
     
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