Suppose I am offering someone a ride home. I know "I'll give you a ride home" would be correct. But can I also use ride as a transitive verb, as follows?

Come, I'll ride you home.

I'm asking because "I'll drive you home" makes perfect sense. But what about using ride in the same manner?

  • 1
    "I rode my mom to the airport" is just perfect but it is the "informal" use. – vickyace Aug 21 '14 at 21:15
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    And I bet she was tired by the time you got there. (I've never heard that used "informally") – Jim Sep 20 '14 at 22:24
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    "I'll ride you home." That's what you say to your horse. – GEdgar Jul 27 '16 at 12:23

I don't think that the expression I'll ride you home is readily acceptable in BrE as an alternative to I'll give you a ride home. Trouble is, to this ear, that the first part of the expression, specifically I'll ride you, already has a vernacular interpretation. One which might lead to the phenomenon expressed in OP's adopted identity for this site.


You can't say "I'll ride you home." as the most natural interpretation is that you will climb onto your mom and say "Giddyup!".

You could argue that "I'll drive you home" would suffer from the same problem, ie that it sounds like you will get in your mom, shut the door, put her in gear, and proceed to drive her like a car. However, this is impossible, and so it tends to not be interpreted this way.

However, it is possible to "ride" someone - my son loves to ride on my back, for example - and so it could actually mean this. It's therefore more ambiguous.

There is also an alternative meaning for "ride" which means "have sex with". If you were in the back of a limo, for example, with a lover, you might actually say "I'm going to ride you all the way home.", meaning that you plan to have sex with them. So that's potentially problematic too, especially with your mom.


Actually, the English subtitles for the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart use this construction I’ll ride you back, or I’ll ride you up the hill, in the sense of “I’ll give you a ride,” said by two different characters to the protagonist, offering her a lift on the back of the speaker’s bicycle. Since the subtitles for these films are written by native English speakers, it seems that idiomatic use must be common somewhere. So, not just tired three-year-olds... ;-).

  • Or maybe the subtitles were produced by an overworked native English speaker who had relatively little time to write the subtitles, and ended up using an overly-literal translation from the Japanese which isn't idiomatic English. – Peter Shor Jun 21 '19 at 11:41

The expression “I’ll ride you home” can be used by

  • a tired three-year-old, talking to an adult family member (or guardian), or
  • a person talking to his steed (horse, elephant, dolphin, dragon, etc.) or his vehicle.  In most cases, this is an indicator of mental aberration.

The idiomatic phrase give a lift means

give someone a ride Fig. to provide transportation for someone. I've got to get into town. Can you give me a lift?

The phrase is applied to motorcycles as well as cars.

[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs]

  • The OP has not asked for alternatives to "give a ride", but rather asked about the usage of "to ride sb." as a synonym of "to give a ride to sb.". – Alan Evangelista Jul 19 '19 at 13:17

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