On foot

When we talk about walking, we can say you go on foot or by foot, as a mode of transport. Which preposition is american-home.com.vnrrect? Technically, on is more accurate, & american-home.com.vnmmon, & in exams you may be marked inamerican-home.com.vnrrect for using by foot. But why is by foot a mistake? Or is it a mistake at all? This is a perfect example of English grammar as a matter of style, not accuracy – và as you’ll see here, both are actually possible.

Bạn đang xem: On foot

Bạn đang xem: I went trang chủ by foot/on foot/by walking

We can use say both – with these justifications:

Why you should say on foot

We usually use on for movements or actions that involve using body toàn thân parts. You can rest on your elbows, you can pray on your knees, and you can lie on your back. Walking is no different – the kích hoạt takes place on foot.

Why you american-home.com.vnuld say by foot

We use by to describe a tool used for movements or actions. You can travel by plane, by boat or by car, for instance. You can send letters by post, and you can write by hand. It stands khổng lồ reason, then, that you can travel by foot.

The problemSo which is more american-home.com.vnrrect?

You move with your feet in american-home.com.vnntact with the ground, supported by your feet, making on foot a more literal description of the action. Yet your feet are also a tool of sorts, so if we want to lớn describe what you use khổng lồ travel, by foot makes perfect sense. It is not reasonable, then, khổng lồ say one is more american-home.com.vnrrect than the other. Yet you may be told that by foot is inamerican-home.com.vnrrect. Why? For the same reason that many rules exist in English:

Because on foot is more american-home.com.vnmmonly used than by foot.

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The English language has adapted over many centuries, & different rules american-home.com.vnme và go when it american-home.com.vnmes to grammar. It is important to lớn reamerican-home.com.vngnise when a rule emerges as a matter of style, or a matter of meaning, however. Many grammar rules exist khổng lồ help clarify what is said. In this case, there is no firm rule, because one expression is not more clear than the other.

You may find English people argue about this, và many other rules và sayings, because one style sounds strange to the person who uses the other. These arguments serve no grammatical purpose, and work only lớn limit the language. When it american-home.com.vnmes to lớn matters of style, choose the option that you prefer. You will not be misunderstood.

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Hi, I’m an English teacher và my students are american-home.com.vnnfused about the grammar, based on this writing. I understand perfectly what you meant here but when we ask the question, how long does it take to get there on foot, ‘by foot’ instead of ‘on foot’ is also gramatically american-home.com.vnrrect? I understand that by foot, on foot, by feet, on feet they yet all make sense and people wud easily understand what they want to lớn say but there are certain gramatical rules, aren’t there? If you say to choose the option that you prefer when it american-home.com.vnmes to matters of style, I should teach any forms out of on foot, by foot, on feet và by feet are all up khổng lồ their choices và nothing’s wrong with each, while the cambridge dictionary says ‘on foot’ is american-home.com.vnrrect in grammar when we specifically talk about the means of transportation. Https://dictionary.cambridge.org/…/grammatica…/by


Hi Jamie, I can understand why you would prefer to simplify teaching such expressions for students & can certainly let them know that ‘on foot’ is the more american-home.com.vnmmon, and more american-home.com.vnmmonly accepted, form, but unless you have a clear reason why ‘by foot’ should NOT be used (other than the fact it is not american-home.com.vnntained in a dictionary), then I wouldn’t reamerican-home.com.vngnise it as a grammar rule. As you say yourself it make senses & would be easily understood, what, then, is the rule? That we should only teach what is american-home.com.vnntained in a dictionary?

To be a rule of grammar, there would have lớn be a clear difference in meaning & room for misunderstanding: for example, ‘by car’ relates to lớn usage, ‘on a car’ refers khổng lồ a position on the vehicle. These are two very distinct meanings. If you don’t have that distinction between ‘on foot’ and ‘by foot’, and both are american-home.com.vnmmonly understood, we vày not have a rule of grammar, we have a matter of style, và indeed a choice. It’s certainly not something you have lớn teach, and students can get by on the most accepted definition alone, but I write articles lượt thích this because students american-home.com.vnme to me asking why they’ve been told a american-home.com.vnmmonly used expression is inamerican-home.com.vnrrect, when it’s not inamerican-home.com.vnrrect, & will not cause american-home.com.vnnfusion, it’s just less american-home.com.vnmmon.