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Which one is correct?

  1. I go to school by foot.
  2. I go to school on foot.
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and kindly add a little bit description that why is it used – aliya Mar 25 '11 at 18:51
OALD and Collins have only "on foot". There is no entry for "by foot". – rogermue Jul 22 at 17:00

4 Answers 4

up vote 0 down vote accepted

"By" in this context normally refers to a mode of transportation whereas "in" or "on" would refer to your position whilst travelling.

We travel by car

This suggests we are using a car to travel.

We travel in a car

This implies we are inside of a car while traveling.

When it comes to using "on foot" or "by foot," either would be correct; however, a quick google search demonstrated that "by foot" is more commonly used (150M hits vs. 85.4M hits)

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Thanks this would really help me – aliya Mar 25 '11 at 19:06
@aliya please accept answer if this is what you needed – snumpy Mar 25 '11 at 20:11
I would bet a lot of money that the majority of instances that contain "by foot" are from English Language websites and forums instructing learners on the difference between "on foot" and "by foot". I don't know what happened since 2011, but today, July 2015, Google reports 29,700,000 results for “on foot”; and 7,340,000 results for "by foot" (with quotation marks). – Mari-Lou A Jul 22 at 13:38
Google Books on the other hand, yields 4,790 results for “by foot” and 42,700 results for “on foot”. The “on foot” wins hands down! – Mari-Lou A Jul 22 at 13:42
@Mari-LouA also, COCA gives 1743 'on foot', 286 'by foot'. Everything has its bias, and I'd be guessing of an explanation of the difference between plain old google and google books/COCA, but I'd consider the latter a 'better' representation of natural usage (because it's a curated corpus?) – Mitch Nov 20 at 13:33

On foot is the usual way to say it.

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However, by is usually used with regards to a means of travel. For example, you would say "I went to school by car". – Yozomiri Mar 25 '11 at 18:55
but why is by foot commonly used? – aliya Mar 25 '11 at 19:07
@aliya: Because you are literally travelling on your feet. The same thing is used for saying, "I traveled on horseback" but not for "I traveled on car." – MrHen Mar 25 '11 at 19:11

Over the course of my studying English as a foreign language I have been told that "on foot" was the only right expression to use (vs by car; on vs by). Therefore I was utterly surprised when I read "by foot" in the "Time" some time ago.

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I don't feel that "by foot" is the more commonly used. "On foot" is more common.

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This adds nothing to the existing answers – Chenmunka Jul 22 at 13:44

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