English as a Second Language/In a bus vs by bus


Dear Shannon,

Is it correct English to say "We set off for Palmyra in a bus"? I know that for means of transport we would say "by bus".

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Sure, you could use either one.  The first sentence just sounds a little bit formal, and so it has the effect as if we would be shocked to learn that you were going by bus.  On the other hand if you simply said, "We set off for Palmyra by bus," it doesn't have this effect.

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

Past/Present Clients
I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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