General Writing and Grammar Help/Ride & ride on

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Question
Dear Ted:

Which of the following phrases is correct: "to ride something" or "to ride ON something?

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

BTW, is it correct to call them phrases?

Again, thank you very much for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which of the following phrases is correct: "to ride something" or "to ride ON
something?

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

*** They are correct, and, in most cases, they can be interchanged.  The idea is that, if you ride something, you are already ON it.  So, these sentences mean the same thing:  (1) She plans to ride her bicycle to school.  (2) She plans to ride on her bicycle to school.  I prefer #1, because the use of "on" in the second example is really unnecessary.  

*** There is a special use for "ride."  It means to tease or aggravate someone:  Because Jack is a bully, I intend to ride him as much as I can.

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** Here's another example of the unnecessary use of "on" -- I will ride on the train from London to Oxford.  Although this sentence is grammatically correct, there is no reason to use "on."  "I will ride the train" is sufficient.

OTHER EXAMPLES:

I RIDE the bus to work.
When I visited India, I RODE ON the back on an elephant.
The baby was RIDING ON his father's shoulders.
The little boy RIDES his tricycle all around the neighborhood.


BTW, is it correct to call them phrases?

*** "To ride something" and "to ride on something" are prepositional PHRASES.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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