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I have been arguing with friends on this. Is it right to say 'go by a bus' or 'go on a bus'?

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  • Hi, Fred. That really depends on what you want to do, as they both make sense. You ride on a bus. You go by bus. But when you want to walk, you go by the bus and keep on walking. Please take a few minutes to take the site tour and visit the help center for guidance on how to use this site. And welcome! :) Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 9:53
  • Hi Medica. I will take the tour but I need to appreciate your help. Thanks a lot.
    – Fred Odida
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 11:53
  • @medica But that's a bit of a red herring that you have introduced there. To go by the bus is ambiguous. It could mean to walk by where the bus is stopped and carry on walking; but it could also mean to travel 'by the (specific) bus'.
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 12:31
  • The first almost sounds like you want to 'buy' the bus.
    – user17443
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 12:40

2 Answers 2

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Either are quite understandable, and even grammatical.

Idiomatically one would usually say I shall go by bus (the indefinite article is out of place in this context).

In some situations if you wanted to stress that you were going by bus, as opposed to walking or some other transport mode, it might be appropriate to say I shall go on a bus (indef. article essential).

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  • WS2 that help was great and i think i concur with you. I had not noticed the effect of using an indefinite article versus not using one. thanks a lot and God bless you.
    – Fred Odida
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 11:51
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Using the preposition on is due to the fact that when a bus is on motion, one inside is on it but in it while it's not on motion. Going on a bus of course refers to a moving bus.

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