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    #1

    transportation

    Is it correct that we always have to say:
    1) I want to go home by car.
    2) I want to go home in my car.
    I mean is it correct to say:
    3) I want to go home by my car.
    Which ones are correct? All of them?
    My teacher says "For all types of transportation, we should use by. And if there is a possessive adjective or anything else before car, bus, taxi, etc., we should use in. I want to know if this rule is always correct.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: transportation

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    Is it correct that we always have to say:
    1) I want to go home by car.
    2) I want to go home in my car.
    I mean is it correct to say:
    3) I want to go home by my car.
    Which ones are correct? All of them?
    My teacher says "For all types of transportation, we should use by. And if there is a possessive adjective or anything else before car, bus, taxi, etc., we should use in. I want to know if this rule is always correct.
    Well, your teacher is wrong if you have correctly interpreted the advice that you must always use "by" for transportation.
    I can understand the basic point you teacher is making. It's a pity these guidelines always have to be taken (or presented) so literally.
    Yes, we would say "in my car" in preference to "by my car". We would say, "By car" rather than "in car". No we wouldn't say "by my car".

    But consider the following:
    "I came home in a taxi." (Which rule does this satisfy?).
    "I came home in a car."; "I flew home; I drove home"; "I took a taxi home"
    "I rode home on a horse/ferry/hovercrat";

    I think that, instead of wondering whether your teacher is right or not, try to understand the points/he's making.

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    #3

    Re: transportation

    Yes. They are fixed phrases, which means you can't change them.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: transportation

    Quote Originally Posted by paul.moss View Post
    Yes. They are fixed phrases, which means you can't change them.
    Well, as Raymott has shown, some of them are not fixed. We can say 'in a car' or 'in my car', for example.

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    #5

    Re: transportation

    Well, by 'fixed' I mean the grammatical pattern and the collocating preposition.

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    #6

    Re: transportation

    Quote Originally Posted by paul.moss View Post
    Well, by 'fixed' I mean the grammatical pattern and the collocating preposition.
    By 'fixed phrase' we generally mean a group of words that cannot be changed in any way.

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    #7

    Re: transportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Well, your teacher is wrong if you have correctly interpreted the advice that you must always use "by" for transportation.
    I can understand the basic point you teacher is making. It's a pity these guidelines always have to be taken (or presented) so literally.
    Yes, we would say "in my car" in preference to "by my car". We would say, "By car" rather than "in car". No we wouldn't say "by my car".

    But consider the following:
    "I came home in a taxi." (Which rule does this satisfy?).
    "I came home in a car."; "I flew home; I drove home"; "I took a taxi home"
    "I rode home on a horse/ferry/hovercrat";

    I think that, instead of wondering whether your teacher is right or not, try to understand the points/he's making.
    Thanks.
    But I said:
    My teacher says "For all types of transportation, we should use by. And if there is a possessive adjective or anything else before car, bus, taxi, etc., we should use in. I want to know if this rule is always correct.
    According to what you say,we can understand my teacher's rule is ok. When you say "I came home in a taxi.", it is not just taxi, it is a taxi. So the normal preposition by changes to in because there is a before taxi. (a is something else as my teacher said)
    Do you agree?

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: transportation

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    Thanks.
    But I said:
    My teacher says "For all types of transportation, we should use by.
    Well, that's plainly nonsense -- if we must talk literally, and ignore any context, spoken or unspoken in which he uttered that sentence.

    And if there is a possessive adjective or anything else before car, bus, taxi, etc., we should use in. I want to know if this rule is always correct.
    No, it's absolute tosh, as I pointed out by giving counter-examples.

    According to what you say,we can understand my teacher's rule is ok.
    Since we're speaking more carefully, I can understand how your teacher's guideline might be useful and I believe that many others could as well, if considered with a certain amount of lenience toward the capabilities of grammar rules. But I'm not asserting that "we" could all understand his utterance as beng "OK"

    When you say "I came home in a taxi.", it is not just taxi, it is a taxi. So the normal preposition by changes to in because there is a before taxi. (a is something else as my teacher said)
    Do you agree?
    Not at all. It's a clear counter-example to your teacher's rule. The rule cannot be saved by inventing an unstated clause that says you can substitute "by" for "in" if an article existed. If you allow such loopholes in the rule, you might as well also allow my point that he was not attempting to speak with this degree of infallibility and comprehensiveness.
    If you have correctly represented what your teacher said, and have left out no mitigating contextual circumstances, one must take the stance that he is, in a strict sense, wrong.

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    #9

    Re: transportation

    Rules rarely work 100%- it's often better to treat them as tendencies and guides rather than laws. As a general guide, your teacher's pattern is OK. However, it is possible to create exceptions.

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