Which of the following sentences is more acceptable in the meaning "fortunately someone get into or was able to catch the next bus"?

  1. Fortunately I could get into the next bus.
  2. Fortunately I managed the next bus.

Are both sentences correct? If someone is asked to choose one between the two, which one should they choose?

  • I'd say "Fortunately I managed to get onto the next bus." – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 27 '12 at 17:26
  • just choose a or b – Haque Oct 27 '12 at 17:33
  • 3
    Like Barrie England and jwpat7, I don't like either. Neither is fully idiomatic. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 27 '12 at 18:59
  • Completely agree with @StoneyB. The only way I'd ever say (1) is if I were running from an attacker and ran into a bus yard and thought I hide on a bus. The first one I tried was locked but fortunately I could get into the next bus. – Jim Oct 27 '12 at 22:01

A native speaker of English would be unlikely to say either. You might hear instead:

Fortunately, I was able to [or managed to] catch [or get] the next bus.

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Both are grammatically correct, but as previously noted, neither is likely to be heard from native speakers of English. While sentence (1) is particularly unlikely, it certainly could occur in the conversation of some large person talking about a bus too small for them to fit into. A conscientiously-brief speaker might say (2), but either of “Fortunately I managed to catch the next bus” or “Fortunately I caught the next bus” is more likely.

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The first is more correct. "Managed" is an odd usage in this situation. It might make a nice turn of phrase if it is prefaced by something like "I wasn't able to make the 830 bus because I overslept. Fortunately, I managed the next bus." Without context, "managed" could mean many things, most of which do not mean being a passenger on the bus.

In either case, it should be "Fortunately," since the word fortunately is the introduction to the sentence.

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  • I heard of one rule that if could does not express permanent ability in the past, it must be replaced by "be able to" or "managed to". Doesn't it apply to sentence a? – Haque Oct 27 '12 at 17:44
  • In US idiom, at least, "managed" is idiomatic "was able" with a to-marked infinitive, not with a noun. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 27 '12 at 18:58

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