Cycling is/Cycle is

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wolfbm1, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hello,

    I encountered a sentence in a test in Total English Elementary course:
    "Choose the correct word:
    Cycle/Cycling is the cheapest way to get around."
    The answer is Cycling.
    I think that both words are correct. One can also say: Cycle is the cheapest form of transport.
    What do you think?
     
  2. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    No, you would have to say "A bicycle is ..."

    (which is nonsense, of course, since walking is cheaper, but I digress)
     
  3. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you, sdgraham.
    I thought that cycle means bicycle:
    1 a bicycle or motorcycle
    We went for a cycle ride on Sunday.
    a cycle route/track (http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/cycle )
    Anyway cycling does not need an article but cycle does (it would have to be the definite article). And then, cycle is mostly used as an adjective, I think.
    So this sentence should be OK: The bicycle is the cheapest way to get around.
    (Rollerblading is cheap too but the underground is the fastest.)

     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  4. djmc Senior Member

    France
    English - United Kingdom
    Those that put bum to saddle rarely talk about bicycles. The steed is normally called a bike, as in "I've just bought a new bike" or "I need to get a new tyre for my bike", and the activity is normally cycling as in "The Wobbley Wheelers Cycling Club alias WWCC", or "Turbo training is a good way to get fit for cycling".
     
  5. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you, djmc.
     
  6. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    The definition you quote demonstrates the ambiguity quite nicely.

    Natural usage is something else. Sometimes we do, indeed, use cycle without an article, particularly as an adjective, ... but not, in my experience, in your context.
     
  7. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    No. Mr Graham is, as usual, correct ("A bicycle is . . .").
     
  8. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    The COCA has this:
    You will master this bicycle! A bicycle is the world's most efficient means of transportation! (Technology Review)
    I have always felt that using your bicycle for commuting should be made as easy as possible. The bicycle is the perfect partner with other transit agencies in making the trip from home to work a seamless symphonic adventure. (San Francisco Chronicle)
    The BNC has this:
    The race was designed to show that a bicycle is not only cheap, healthy and friendly on the environment, but also quick. (Misc unpublished -- letters & articles)
    The bicycle is a child's only independent means of transport, yet that mobility is under threat. (Misc unpublished -- letters & articles)

    It seems that both articles are acceptable in the context of commuting and means of transport.

    So I should have said: Anyway, cycling does not need an article but bicycle does (it would have to be the definite article, wouldn't it).
    I heard from a native speaker of American English that misuse of articles is not a big deal in spoken English.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012

Share This Page

Loading...