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What preposition can we use to refer to how we travel from one place to another—the mode of transportation we are taking?

One preposition we can use is by.

  • Martin traveled to Baguio by helicopter.
  • They are going to Cebu by sea, not by air.
  • The easiest way to reach Paranãque is by car.
  • He is headed to school by bus.
  • I am exploring Amersfoort by bike.

Note: Do not insert the following pronouns or articles after by:

  • a possessive pronoun such as my, her, his, their, our
  • an article a, an, the

Thus, it be would be awkward to say:

  • Martin traveled to Baguio by a helicopter.
  • They are going to Cebu by the sea, not by air.
  • He is headed to school by our bus.
  • I am exploring Amersfoort by my bike.

But when we refer to our location while we are traveling, we use either on or in.

Exception: When we use the term on foot—a phrase that means “to walk instead of traveling by car or using any other conveyance.”

Now if we refer to what we can find within the coverage, area or confines of the conveyance, then we use in. In this case, we refer to the conveyance as merely an area, not as the mode we use to transport ourselves.

  • I left my bag in the bus.
  • The baby’s car seat in the van is too warm.
  • There is too much food stored in the ship.
  • The dining room in the train bound for Turkey is packed with Filipinos.
  • The newspapers in the plane are a day old.

Sources: Purdue University Online Writing Laboratory (scroll down) and British Council Learn Grammar

Photo credit: Republic Domain

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