In an effort to give myself a more regular blog posting cycle, I have decided to dedicate Mondays to the wonder of the English language and bring out all grammar articles highlighting the do’s and do not’s of this great langauge.
By this I do not mean to bore you all with the standard everyday grammar rules that we learn in school, but rather the more unique and complication elements that make English so rich.
My first article is something that I only learn recently and it had me perplexed. Let me start with a little play acting.
You are on the way to work, your mobile goes. You answer it. It’s me calling.
Me: “Hey, Good morning, where are you, I’m in line for the coffees.”
You: “Hey Alex, Yeah I’m on my way. I’m in the bus… no wait on the bus.. no in……..”
I knew that there was different ways of using prepositions with regards to transportation, but I never understood that there are rules that govern when a certain one is to be used.
Okay, I know that you are on the bicycle and not in the bicycle because that would just be weird. Much the same applies for horses, Jet Ski’s Emus and Lamas.
In the general instance, the governing rule for which preposition to use is the ‘personal’ space that you have whilst using said transportation. You are in a car, because you have limited room and cannot exactly get up and move around. You are on a train, or on the boat because there is space for you to get up and move around as much as you like.
The above is straight forward enough. In if you are constrained, and on if you have room to yourself. Simple right…. well now it gets interesting.
The correct preposition is governed not only by the type of vehicle but also its momentum. This is only applicable to “in-vehicles” as to be on the bike or on the horse remains the same.
For example, you are riding the bus to work, a colleague calls and ask where you are. You look up from your book and see you are moving, no traffic. Your reply would be I’m on the bus a few minutes later your partner calls, just to say good morning. They ask where you are. You look up again, and see that you are in a bus stop waiting for a long queue of people to get onboard. Your reply now would be I’m in the bus.
I hope that this has been informative, I was certainly something that I didn’t know. Before I leave I do however have one question.
Taking into the account the above, what the Hell would you say if someone called while you were canoeing??