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ESL forum > Ask for help > In the bus X on the bus    

In the bus X on the bus



roael
Brazil

In the bus X on the bus
 
Hi! Could someone explain the difference between in the bus and on the bus? Thanks in advance.

8 Sep 2018      



yanogator
United States

On the bus means that you are a passenger. It can also be used of parts of the bus itself.
 
In the bus is just the physical location, and isn t used very often. It is often worded "inside the bus". It can sometimes be used the same as "on the bus" to emphasize that something is inside.
 
He is on the bus now, on his way home.
Oh, no! I left my backpack on the bus.
 
The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All through the town. 
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish swish, swish, swish, swish.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish,
All through the town...
 
 
If you can t find your cat here in the schoolyard, you could look in/inside the bus.
Three people were trapped in/inside the bus after the accident.
There are 16 people in/on the bus now. [The choice here just depends on how important their being inside the bus is, as compared to just being passengers.]
 
Prepositions are a challenge in every language.    
 
Bruce

8 Sep 2018     



roael
Brazil

Thanks.

9 Sep 2018     



zoemorosini
United States

From my perspective, objects that are part of or always contained in the bus are "IN", and people and their belongings are ON the bus.  The driver would of course be in the driver s seat, and the passengers in their seats.  If people were sitting/traveling or something were to be tied to the top of the bus in the open air, it would be ON TOP OF the bus.
 

9 Sep 2018     



yanogator
United States

Hi, Zoe,
I don t quite agree with you. I think we re more inclined to say "How many seats are on that bus?" than "How many seats are in that bus"?
 
Bruce 

9 Sep 2018     



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Roael,

I am with Bruce on this.

It depends on whether you regard the six sides of the bus as superficial areas, or the entirety of the bus as one cubic volume.  
"The wheels on the bus"; "The doors on the bus"; "The number-plate on the bus"; "The destination-board on the bus"; "There were 10 passengers on the upper-deck and 20 passengers on the lower-deck of the bus"; (On the mobile phone, waiting at the bus stop for a friend.) "Where are you? Are you on this Number 16 bus that s stopping now?" "Yes, I m on the lower-deck, in the front seat, wearing a red hat. I have my suitcase on the bus, too, but it s in the luggage compartment." "Thank you, I can see you now, sitting in the front seat!"
 
Les Douglas 

10 Sep 2018     



Antonio Oliver
Spain

Hi,
Someone told me that the very first public transport buses (horse-drawn) were just open trailers were people used to stand or sit but obviously they weren t IN as there were no proper walls or roof. It seems we ve kept the preposition since then. 
However, it s not all perfectly logical -we say IN my car but ON the bus!?
Regards 

10 Sep 2018     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Ah, Antonio, well, that explains why we say on the bus when we really are in it! What about the train and the plane? 

10 Sep 2018     



Antonio Oliver
Spain

Yes Lynne, you can t really be ON the plane unless you re an acrobat! 

10 Sep 2018     



Minka
Slovenia

PREP. by ~ We left by plane for Peking. | in a/the ~ I ve never flown in a plane. | on a/the ~ The president was never on the plane at all. (http://oxforddictionary.so8848.com/search1?word=plane)
 
I think that president could have been on the plane after all, whether he is an acrobat or not, at least according to Oxford and Longman dictionaries.
 
Related topics: Air, Tools, Plants, Maths
plane1 /pleɪn/ ●●● S2 W2 noun [countable] 1 AIRCRAFT a vehicle that flies in the air and has wings and at least one engineIt is a big airline with a large fleet of planes.Its much quicker to go by plane.She slept on the plane.  (https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/plane) 

13 Sep 2018