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  1. #1
    milan2003_07's Avatar
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    Default ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    Hello,

    I know that it's correct to say "ON a train", "ON a plane", "ON a bus" when speaking about these means of transport. For example:

    1) I keft my bag on the bus
    2) Food will be served on the plane when it has taken off
    3) You can have a rest on the train because you'll arrive in Moscow only in the morning.

    My question are: what "IN a train", "IN a plane", and "IN a bus" would mean? Please provide some examples.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    There is no different meaning if you said "I left my book in the train." It would sound un-natural, but would be understood.

  3. #3
    milan2003_07's Avatar
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    There is no different meaning if you said "I left my book in the train." It would sound un-natural, but would be understood.
    I see. Nonetheless I'd like to know if "IN" a train/bus/plain has any specific meaning or not.

    I'm also unclear of one thing. Let's take "ON a train" for example. When we say "There were many people ON the train" we mean that all these people are located inside the train. What will we need to say to mean that there is something on the roof of a train car? For example: "There was a lot of rubbish on the train" meaning that the rubbish was on top of the train's car rather than inside the car. Is the preposition "on" correct in this case?

  4. #4
    milan2003_07's Avatar
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    Please help me with my question.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    If you wanted to specify that the rubbish was on the roof of the train, then the clearest way would be to say that. The roof is not the natural part of the train we talk about, so name it if you're talking about it.

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    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    Quote Originally Posted by milan2003_07 View Post
    Hello,

    I know that it's correct to say "ON a train", "ON a plane", "ON a bus" when speaking about these means of transport. For example:

    1) I keft my bag on the bus
    2) Food will be served on the plane when it has taken off
    3) You can have a rest on the train because you'll arrive in Moscow only in the morning.

    My question are: what "IN a train", "IN a plane", and "IN a bus" would mean? Please provide some examples.

    Thanks

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) You have asked a question that also drives ordinary native

    speakers like me crazy.

    (2) The prepositions "in" and "on" are in a competition to drive the other

    one out of business, but I forget which one is winning.

    (3) Yes, we usually say "on" a bus, train, or plane.

    (a) but if the plane is small, some Americans might say: the executives

    traveled in a private jet.

    (b) but if the bus is parked for the night, some Americans might say: the band

    slept in the bus.

    (c) but if you are talking about a train car (coach/carriage), we might

    say: There were 50 passengers in car #5. (As you said, if we used

    the preposition "on," it would seem that they were riding on top of the

    car, as happens, I hear, in some countries.)

    Respectfully yours,


    James

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    Quote Originally Posted by milan2003_07 View Post
    I see. Nonetheless I'd like to know if "IN" a train/bus/plain has any specific meaning or not.

    I'm also unclear of one thing. Let's take "ON a train" for example. When we say "There were many people ON the train" we mean that all these people are located inside the train. What will we need to say to mean that there is something on the roof of a train car? For example: "There was a lot of rubbish on the train" meaning that the rubbish was on top of the train's car rather than inside the car. Is the preposition "on" correct in this case?
    With regard to the rubbish question (I don't mean your question was rubbish!), I would say "There was a lot of rubbish on top of the train" or "...on the roof of the train"

  8. #8
    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    The prepositions "in" and "on" are in a competition to drive the other
    one out of business, but I forget which one is winning.
    Sometimes it depends on which country you are in!

    George Carlin had a routine where he dissected the announcements made by airlines. Part of this was insisting that he preferred to get in the plane, not on the plane.

    A lot less wind when you're in the plane.

  9. #9
    milan2003_07's Avatar
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    That's very interesting what you've written here. I'd like to ask you a few questions regarding the usage of these prepositions.

    1) You've said that when speaking about a small plane we can use "in" rather than only "on". Does the appropriate preposition depend on the size of a plane? If so, then we always use "on" to talk about jumbo jets and "in" to refer to small aircraft intended for several people.

    2) And by the way what about helicopters? Do we say "on a helicopter" or "in a helicopter"?

    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) You have asked a question that also drives ordinary native

    speakers like me crazy.

    (2) The prepositions "in" and "on" are in a competition to drive the other

    one out of business, but I forget which one is winning.

    (3) Yes, we usually say "on" a bus, train, or plane.

    (a) but if the plane is small, some Americans might say: the executives

    traveled in a private jet.

    (b) but if the bus is parked for the night, some Americans might say: the band

    slept in the bus.

    (c) but if you are talking about a train car (coach/carriage), we might

    say: There were 50 passengers in car #5. (As you said, if we used

    the preposition "on," it would seem that they were riding on top of the

    car, as happens, I hear, in some countries.)

    Respectfully yours,


    James

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: ON/IN a train/plane/bus

    Apart from the usual rules (on rather than in a plane, etc.) the choice of preposition can relate to size. 'I flew to New York on a Boeing 747' but 'I flew to the Isle of Islay in a Vickers Viscount'. And 'Douglas Bader flew in a Spitfire'.

    Also, the size of the compartment comes into it. People are on a plane, but the passengers are in the passenger lounge, and the pilot is in the cockpit.

    This has been discussed 'many a time and oft' [=often]. Try the threads listed at the foot of this thread.

    b

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