In the Busuu course I'm taking I learned the word 乗る and that it means something like "take" or "ride". For that purpose I used the structure [vehicle]で 行く up until now.

I understand, that the difference between the two is, that with [vehicle]で 行く I'm basically saying "I go by bike/train/etc" or just "I'm using a bike/train/etc." With 乗る on the other hand I'm saying "I take the bike/train/etc."

However, with 行く I learned to construct sentences containing a target location or a direction such as 仕事へ自転車で行く "I go to work by bicycle". Can I use the same structure with 乗る? e.g 仕事へ自転車に乗る "I go to work by taking the bicycle"

Has the first one more or less the same meaning as the second one, is the second one with 乗る entirely wrong or does it have it's own meaning?

I'm open to help, since I don't quite get the difference...

1 Answer 1


乗る on its own only describes the action of mounting or boarding itself. The "destination" marked by に must be a vehicle (or a boat, a horse, etc), not some geographical location. 東京に乗る or 仕事に乗る does not make sense (although "to ride to Tokyo" is a valid expression in English). 車に乗る does not necessary mean you travel to somewhere; you may just sleep in the car after 乗る.

You can combine 乗る and 行く using the te-form. For example, 自転車に乗って行きます is almost the same as 自転車で行きます, and 車に乗って東京に行きます means the same thing as 車で東京に行きます.

  • 1
    Alright, thanks for the explanation, you solved my confusion I guess :) So if I understood you right, with 乗る alone I cannot say that I travel with something somewhere, I either need to use で 行く or combine 乗る and 行く in their -te form to say that I e.g. take the train to go somewhere. Thank you! :)
    – Capt.Pie
    Sep 15, 2021 at 12:27

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