Should We Say 'Take Bus', 'Take the Bus', or 'Take a Bus'? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 24 March 2024)

'Take Bus', 'Take the Bus', or 'Take a Bus'?

Part 5

'Take Bus', 'Take the Bus', or 'Take a Bus': Which One Is Correct?

An article (i.e. the or a) is needed between take and bus:

Andrea and Kate take the bus together. (The bus can be used in a general sense as a means of transport. It can also refer to a specific bus.)

Andrea and Kate take a bus together. (A bus can be any bus.)

Andrea and Kate take bus together.

You can also use the expression by bus, in which case an article is not used:

Andrea and Kate travel by bus together.

Andrea and Kate travel by the bus together.

Andrea and Kate travel by a bus together.

By is used without an article for ways of travelling:

I go to school by bus.

Tens of thousands of passengers are transported by tram every day.

Travelling by plane can be exciting for some, but stressful for others.

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Also by Spencer Lam

Part 1: Should We Say 'A Tiger', 'The Tiger', or 'Tigers'?
Part 2: 'Relax' or 'Relax Oneself'?
Part 3: 'Exchange Program' or 'Exchanging Program'?
Part 4: 'Yours sincerely' or 'Yours faithfully'?
Part 6: 'I Afraid' or 'I Am Afraid'?
Part 7: 'Date Someone' or 'Date with Someone'?
Part 8: A Missing Relative Pronoun
Part 9: Are 'Basketball', 'Football', and 'Badminton' Countable or Uncountable?
Part 10: 'Every Time' or 'Every Time When'?
Part 11: Should 'Mum' Be Capitalised? (Read this blog post for a more in-depth discussion of the topic.)
Part 12: 'Grammar' or 'Grammer'?

Examples from the Media

Whatever the case, nearly every time I take the bus to the subway and the subway to somewhere else, I observe the same trend: passengers, virtually 90 per cent of whom are masked, pile onto a crowded vehicle, look longingly up and down the aisle and ultimately decline to sit in one of the many available individual seats sandwiched between two occupied ones. —Toronto Star (2022)

Communities are not well connected: many people have to take a bus into the city centre to travel out in a different direction. —The Guardian (2016)

The train trip will take just 40 minutes, compared with as much as an hour and 40 minutes by busSouth China Morning Post (2022)

Other Real-World Examples of Misuse

1. We say at the party when party refers to a social event at which people get together to have fun.
2. An article is needed. Alternatively, you could say we travelled by minibus.

In this context, the preposition by is used to indicate a means of travel (e.g. by bus, by car, or by plane), and it doesn't require the definite article the. Therefore, the correct form is he goes by MTR. Alternatively, you could say he takes the MTR, in which case the is needed.
(Source: St. Paul's Secondary School)

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