Transportation Vocabulary

For ESL levels 1+

In your class, you probably learned some words for vehicles (kinds of transportation – bus, car, airplane, etc.). This week, we are going to learn some important words to use WITH those vehicles. For example, we say that we get in a car, but we get on a bus. Do you know when to use “get in” and “get on”?

Get In vs. Get On

We use “get in” for smaller vehicles that carry only a few people – cars, trucks, small boats, etc. The opposite of “get in” is “get out of”. When you arrive at your destination, you get out of a car. Look at this picture. Ask your teacher about words that you do not know.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

How many people can use these vehicles at one time? Probably not more than 10.

Now, let’s look at “get on”. The opposite of “get on” is “get off”. We use these phrases for bigger vehicles like buses, airplanes, and large boats, but we also use them for small vehicles for only one person. We use “get on/off” for bicycles, motorcycles, and horses because you sit on top of them. You can use “get on/off” for anything you sit or stand on top of (skateboard, surfboard, elephant, etc.). Look at this picture. Ask your teacher to explain words you do not know.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Ride, Drive, or Take?

Finally, let’s look at three words:

  1. ride
  2. drive
  3. take

We use these words with different vehicles.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

We use “drive” or “ride in” for the same vehicles. Use “drive” if you are operating the vehicle. Use “ride in” if you are a passenger. In this old picture, a man is driving a car, and his family is riding in the car.

Sharpe family posing in their new car – See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sharpe family posing in their new car – See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Your Turn

Finish these conversations. Practice with your classmates.

  1. A: How did you get here?
    B: I ______________ my car.
  2. A: Do you ______________ the bus to school?
    B: No, I usually ______________ my bike.
  3. A: Where do you ______________ the bus?
    B: There is a bus stop near my house.
  4. A: Can you ______________ a skateboard?
    B: No, but my cousin can.
  5. A: Do you ______________ a bicycle these days?
    B: No. I ______________ a bike when I was young, but now I ______________ a car.

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