Why ‘in a car’ but ‘on a bus’

According to some speakers of English language, the use of in and on in transportation is one of the ‘weirdness’ of prepositions. Despite this difficulty, we’ve found a simplified way of explaining it.

It is however necessary to know that we might not know how this solution was found, but we found it and it’s correct.

On a lighter note, who cares about ‘why’ when we know ‘how’ and we’re right?

The way out

When you get into a car, you sit immediately; when you get into a bus, you have a larger space, so you move to your seat.

Therefore, we get ‘on’ a large floor space or a space without wall (on a stage, on a bike, on a skateboard, on a ship, on a plane), but we get ‘in’ a car, a small boat, a helicopter, etc.


  1. We met on a bus en route Nairobi.
  2. Tom sat quietly in the car as police officers approached him.
  3. Don’t get on a boat if you’re scared.

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