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 hamibeauty.vnrrect? Technically, on is more accurate, and hamibeauty.vnmmon, and in exams you may be marked inhamibeauty.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 – and as you’ll see here, both are actually possible.

Bạn đang xem: On foot

Bạn đang xem: I went home 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 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 action takes place on foot.

Why you hamibeauty.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 to reason, then, that you can travel by foot.

The problemSo which is more hamibeauty.vnrrect?

You move with your feet in hamibeauty.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 describe what you use to travel, by foot makes perfect sense. It is not reasonable, then, to say one is more hamibeauty.vnrrect than the other. Yet you may be told that by foot is inhamibeauty.vnrrect. Why? For the same reason that many rules exist in English:

Because on foot is more hamibeauty.vnmmonly used than by foot.

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The English language has adapted over many centuries, and different rules hamibeauty.vnme and go when it hamibeauty.vnmes to grammar. It is important to rehamibeauty.vngnise when a rule emerges as a matter of style, or a matter of meaning, however. Many grammar rules exist to 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, and many other rules and sayings, because one style sounds strange to the person who uses the other. These arguments serve no grammatical purpose, and work only to limit the language. When it hamibeauty.vnmes to matters of style, choose the option that you prefer. You will not be misunderstood.

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Hi, I’m an English teacher and my students are hamibeauty.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 hamibeauty.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 say but there are certain gramatical rules, aren’t there? If you say to choose the option that you prefer when it hamibeauty.vnmes to matters of style, I should teach any forms out of on foot, by foot, on feet and by feet are all up to their choices and nothing’s wrong with each, while the cambridge dictionary says ‘on foot’ is hamibeauty.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 and can certainly let them know that ‘on foot’ is the more hamibeauty.vnmmon, and more hamibeauty.vnmmonly accepted, form, but unless you have a clear reason why ‘by foot’ should NOT be used (other than the fact it is not hamibeauty.vnntained in a dictionary), then I wouldn’t rehamibeauty.vngnise it as a grammar rule. As you say yourself it make senses and would be easily understood, what, then, is the rule? That we should only teach what is hamibeauty.vnntained in a dictionary?

To be a rule of grammar, there would have to be a clear difference in meaning and room for misunderstanding: for example, ‘by car’ relates to usage, ‘on a car’ refers to 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 hamibeauty.vnmmonly understood, we do not have a rule of grammar, we have a matter of style, and indeed a choice. It’s certainly not something you have to teach, and students can get by on the most accepted definition alone, but I write articles like this because students hamibeauty.vnme to me asking why they’ve been told a hamibeauty.vnmmonly used expression is inhamibeauty.vnrrect, when it’s not inhamibeauty.vnrrect, and will not cause hamibeauty.vnnfusion, it’s just less hamibeauty.vnmmon.