Results 1 to 6 of 6
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 363
    #1

    Ride bicycles/a bicycle

    If I say, "I can read a French novel," it means that I can read a single French novel (not more than one).

    Then, are the following sentences acceptable?

    I can ride a bicycle.
    I can ride bicycles.
    Can she drive a car?
    Can she drive cars?


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #2

    Re: Ride bicycles/a bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    If I say, "I can read a French novel," it means that I can read a single French novel (not more than one).
    No, it means any that comes in your way.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 363
    #3

    Re: Ride bicycles/a bicycle

    Of course, I cannot ride more than one bicycle at a time.

    The point of my question is:

    "I can ride a bicycle." (Is this gramatically okay? Doesn't it imply that I can ride only a particular type of bicycle?)

    I can ride bicycles. (Do native speakers of English misunderstand that I am an acrobat?)


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 1,571
    #4

    Re: Ride bicycles/a bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Of course, I cannot ride more than one bicycle at a time.

    The point of my question is:

    "I can ride a bicycle." (Is this gramatically okay? Doesn't it imply that I can ride only a particular type of bicycle?)

    I can ride bicycles. (Do native speakers of English misunderstand that I am an acrobat?)
    I can ride a bicycle.
    In this sentence 'a' gives the noun a general meaning (=any representative of the class). The sentence states your ability to ride a bicycle. It does not imply any particular type of bicycles.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 363
    #5

    Re: Ride bicycles/a bicycle

    Thank you for your comment.

    Can I use "I can ride bicycles" as well. If yes, what's the difference in nuance between "I can ride bicycles" and "I can ride bicycles"?


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 1,571
    #6

    Re: Ride bicycles/a bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Thank you for your comment.

    Can I use "I can ride bicycles" as well. If yes, what's the difference in nuance between "I can ride bicycles" and "I can ride bicycles"?
    I can ride a bicycle. - is about your ability to operate this type of machine.

    I can ride bicycles. - is basically about the same. There may be some stylistic or application nuances that differ it from the first pattern but you'd better ask a native speaker about it.
    Last edited by Clark; 30-Mar-2009 at 20:32.

Similar Threads

  1. John tumbled off a bicycle.
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 25-Nov-2007, 05:50
  2. riding bicycle
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-May-2007, 08:38
  3. ride and ride on
    By daisy1352 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-May-2007, 12:10
  4. any advice on how to improve my english which is in trouble!
    By lucyarliwu in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 28-Nov-2006, 06:58
  5. Ride by, ride past and stop by
    By nicolas in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 22-Jan-2004, 12:41

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •