" I take the/a bus/train"

roniy

Senior Member
ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
" I take the/a bus/train"
"I am on the/a bus/train"

I think that I always hear "the" but I am not sure.

What you think ????

Thanks.
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    Yes, you hear "the" - I think it might stem from the fact that if I need a bus usually only one will do, it is "the bus I need to take" (the definite article imparts no more knowledge to my listener than "a bus" would, but I know what I mean by it). What makes me think this is that I would say "I'm in a taxi" - which would obviously be one of many I could be in.
     

    PSIONMAN

    Senior Member
    Br English
    roniy said:
    " I take the/a bus/train"
    "I am on the/a bus/train"

    I think that I always hear "the" but I am not sure.

    What you think ????

    Thanks.
    I think either is fine, but I agree there is a slight difference in emphasis

    "How do you get to the houses of your friends?"

    "Sometimes I walk, sometimes I take a bus" (not "the bus" because it might be different busses for different friends)

    "How do you get to work?"

    "Sometimes I walk, sometimes I take the bus" ("the bus" because you always take the same bus (route) to work)

    But really, you can use either
     

    cirrus

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Whenever tedious idiots phone their friends on their mobile they invariably seem to say "I'm on the train". On a train to my ears sounds a bit unusual - it makes me think they are on top of it rather than inside it.
     

    roniy

    Senior Member
    ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
    cirrus said:
    Whenever tedious idiots phone their friends on their mobile they invariably seem to say "I'm on the train". On a train to my ears sounds a bit unusual - it makes me think they are on top of it rather than inside it.
    so "I am on...." comes only with "the" ????

    The issue with " take" a/the I understood
    but what you say about "on the/a bus" ??

    From what you are saying it is only correct with "the"
    can you elaborate more ??
     

    Proserpina2000

    Senior Member
    I think that this has to do with the uses of definite and indefinite articles.
    If you use the definite article 'the' it means that the fact of catching the bus has been mentioned before in the discussion or it's a well known fact. But, if it is a new subject, you have to say 'a bus'
     

    morx

    Member
    American/German USA/Germany
    Maybe, if the subject doesn't know where he/she's going, he/she would say "a"

    On the phone:
    "Where the heck are you?"
    "Hmm, no idea. I'm on a train but I don't know where it's going..
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    • On roller skates
    • On a skateboard
    • On a surfboard
    • On skis
    • On a mono/bi/tricycle
    • On a moped
    • On a motorbike
    • On a cart
    • On a bus
    • On a coach
    • On a ship
    • On an aeroplane
    • In a sidecar
    • In a car
    • In a caraven
    • In a van
    • In a truck
    • In a lorry
    • In a boat
    • In an aircraft
    • In a balloon
    It seems to me that if one is, at least partially, enclosed in a form of transport it takes in.
    If one is physically on something it takes on.
    The others that take on, that you appear to be in, are those that have a deck or decks on which one could stand.
    The only anomaly I can think of is a submarine. It surely has a deck, and you can stand, but you are totally enclosed?

    In a submarine.

    NB I never take a bus. I get a bus.
     

    cirrus

    Senior Member
    UK English
    roniy said:
    so "I am on...." comes only with "the" ????

    The issue with " take" a/the I understood
    but what you say about "on the/a bus" ??

    From what you are saying it is only correct with "the"
    can you elaborate more ??
    Also see Morx’ post – if it’s a bus or train you are familiar with eg the train home or a bus you normally use, then it’s the definite article. If it isn’t a particular train or bus – just any old bus or train then I’d use the indefinite article.


    For example imagine a thriller. An undercover policeman is following someone who is a suspect. The person goes on a bus and then a train - from the perspective of the person shadowing them, they are random and would therefore take the indefinite article.



    However if someone rang the person being followed it's quite possible that person would say I am on the bus/ train if they are ones they routinely use.


    Does that make things any clearer for you?
     
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