fly non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico


Researchers believe that some hummingbirds fly non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico. This unbelievable 500-mile flight takes from 18 to 22 hours! But the Rufous Hummingbird migrates the longest distance, from Mexico to Alaska and back, totaling 5,000 miles.

I wonder if I could use "straight" to replace "non-stop" here without changing its meaning.
Second, could I insert "for" after migrates? Thanks.
  • nichec

    Senior Member
    Non-stop is used quite often with airplanes--and it means they don't land anywhere on the way from Point A to Point B.
    On the other hand, if you use "straight", you lose the sense of "without stopping".

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    You would have to use non-stop in the context that you describe. The hummingbirds land nowhere in between leaving the american coast and arriving on the south american coast. Therefore it is non-stop. Straight would chance the meeting. It would describe only the route and say nothing about the exertion.


    Senior Member
    I wonder if this is what caused the confusion:

    When you say "I am going straight home", it seems to me that you mean you are not going to stop by anywhere, you are going "non-stop" home.


    Senior Member
    US (Midwest) - English
    Interesting. I've always heard "I'm going straight home" more literally, as if the speaker were saying, "I'm not going to turn off my course toward home."


    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Oh, okay, so maybe I was wrong then :p
    I don't think you were wrong, Nichec, just incomplete.

    As an AE mom, when I told my daughters to "come straight home from school", I meant they were to come home immediately, not to deviate from their course and there was to be no dawdling. I suspect other moms have used this meaning as well.

    See definition #8 under adverbs in the American Heritage dictionary entry for straight. :D

    Edit: However, I agree with the others in that "non-stop" gives a more accurate description of the hummingbirds' flight. It's an amazing feat that is best described in a way that leaves no room for mis-interpretation.
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