Win an argument: Every day my neighbor goes to work on a bus...

I have a very simple question, however I do need your help. Yesterday I was accused of being unaware of the latest changes in the English language by my colleague. There was a sentence in a test I was checking that actually brought about this argument. “Every day my neighbor goes to work on a bus”. I underlined the part “on a bus” because I do consider it a bit incorrect. When we say how we get to some place, we should use the structure “by + means of transport”, shouldn’t we? However, I was accused of being ignorant. He said it is OK to use the preposition “on” and I should be more attentive when checking students’ tests. I know that it is possible to say “to go on a bus ride/trip”, however…well I might be mistaken as well.
Thanks in advance!

Hello Li,

I think you’re right!I completely agree with you. I’ve never come across the phrase like that. I mean “go on a bus”, we can say “to go on a bus tour”,etc. but “to go by bus.” Let’s see what other members of the forum will say,I’m very eager to know the correct answer too.

“by bus” is certainly correct. I think most would understand the meaning of the other, but it could also be confusing if this sentence were modified. For example, “on a ferry” would most likely be interpreted to mean that he works on a ferry.

Thanks a lot to those who have already replied, I really appreciate your help! I do need more comments though because there is not enough evidence to prove him wrong. Please, that’s really important to me.

“Every day my neighbor goes to work on a bus”

“on a bus” is just fine.

if you want to use by, then say:
“goes to work by bus”

Just don’t say

“goes to work on a car”

Or i’ll think you mean he rides on the roofrack!

By bus and on a bus are the same. Also, we say on a train or by train but just on a taxi. Imagine that you’ll have to GO UPSTAIRS when entering a bus or train.

One would not say, “[color=red]I go to work on a taxi.”

One would say, “I go to work by taxi” or “I go to work in a taxi” or “I take a taxi to work”.

I don’t understand what having to “go upstairs” has to do with anything here.

Hi Li Chyan’

You can other travel in a taxi or travel by taxi. I would prefer to say ‘by bus’. I agree that ‘on a bus’ when describing a means of transport does sound odd. You would describe something happening on a bus as in: Late last night two people had a fight on a bus in the town centre.


Could you tell me why both by a bus and on bus are wrong? :slight_smile:

Hi Haihao,

Is that question directed at me?


Hi Alan,

Oh no, I am sorry for the ambiguity. I meant to ask VW a question for a change. :slight_smile:



Oh sorry, I think there are some mistakes here. I did mean both are acceptable not wrong. But there were really some mistakes in my post before the previous post. It must’ve been in the car or taxi but not on… I said we had to go upstairs as both train and bus have stairs and we have to pass them to enter them then…and that’s why they’re a bit higher than the ground and why we use on.

One day, i was rebuked by my room mate that I am not current of the lattest changes in the English languge when i corrected him that we ‘listen to the radio’. He constantly used the phrase ‘I follow … from the radio’. To him, the news comes from the radio so he sees no reason saying that ’ i follow the EUFA Champions Leaque from the radio’. I am perplexed and need your help!


You are quite right to say ‘listen to the radio’ as an activity. You can also say that you heard the news ‘on the radio’. I would find the expression ‘from the radio’ as an alternative to the other two expressions quite unusual. To me ‘from the radio’ suggests ‘out of the radio’ in the sense of referring to it as a piece of equipment as in: I heard a strange crackling noise coming from the radio and thought I needed new batteries.


I wonder if the neighbour is a bus driver and thus he/she can go to work on a bus…or whiping the windows…selling flowers. There are lots of works that can be done on a bus, aren´t there?