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Thread: English Grammar Question

  1. #1
    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Question English Grammar Question

    Hi all,

    my girlfriend is an English Secondary Language Teacher.
    Her native language is German.
    Recently the question came up in one of her classes whether
    it is possible to say "by feet" as well as "on foot".

    Examples: "Most students arrive on the campus by feet or car." or "You can go there on foot"

    The two of us have the feeling that "on foot" is far often used
    but that "by feet" is not completely wrong either. Perhaps outdated.
    I know we have a lot of native speakers here as well as teachers (Papewaio?),
    so if anyone could clarify this and perhaps give a few examples, it would be very much appreciated.

    R'as

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  2. #2
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    It is just a feeling, but 'by feet' sounds more apropiate in past time form. Like 'we went there by feet' or 'You can go there on foot'

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Fragony,
    I can relate to that feeling, somehow.
    But it would make an odd rule, don't you think?

    R'as

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by R'as al Ghul
    Fragony,
    I can relate to that feeling, somehow.
    But it would make an odd rule, don't you think?

    R'as
    Yes but english are odd people

    I don't know, but 'by' and 'on' have a difference I cannot really comprehend, maybe not present/past per se but 'to do' and 'have done'? English is a very easy language untill you think of the subtleties, that's for sure.

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Right, they are.
    I thought about an "active"/"passive" difference.
    active: I can go there on foot
    passive: People come here by feet.

    I'm still puzzled.

    R'as

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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Our language is a mess but I'm pretty sure that you say by foot rather than on feet.

    Most students arrive on the campus on foot or by car.
    That would be the correct way of saying it I think
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    Urwendur rbl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    -
    I've never heard or seen by feet; neither of my bigg-α dictionaries (Collins Cobuild and Grolier Webster) include it either, while both of them have on foot.
    -
    Ja mata Tosa Inu-sama, Hore Tore, Adrian II, Sigurd, Fragony

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mouzafphaerre
    -
    I've never heard or seen by feet; neither of my bigg-α dictionaries (Collins Cobuild and Grolier Webster) include it either, while both of them have on foot.
    -
    You are right. It is 'by foot' and 'on foot'. It does implicate a difference. I think I am close with the 'to do' and 'have done', but it is just a hunch.

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    King Edward,

    so can you rule out "by feet" generally?

    Mouza,

    me and my gf have about a dozen dictionaries at home.
    One or two include "by feet", the others don't mention it.
    However, some pupils brought their dictionaries which included "by feet".

    Thanks so far but there has to be a rule for it.

    R'as
    Last edited by R'as al Ghul; 04-26-2005 at 16:48. Reason: spelling

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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    I'm glad im English and its my first language, as I would hate to have to learn it again!!!!!!

    R'as Yes by feet is incorrect as was stated above it would be on foot. you could also use by foot.
    Last edited by King Edward; 04-26-2005 at 15:19.
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by King Edward
    I'm glad im English and its my first language, as I would hate to have to learn it again!!!!!!
    How's your German?
    I heard it must be the strongest pain in the back to learn it?
    Don't try if you don't have to......

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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    The only thing I can say in German would be censored by our mods rather quickly
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by King Edward
    I'm glad im English and its my first language, as I would hate to have to learn it again!!!!!!
    Actually english is one of the easiest languages to learn, because it's logic is very consistent.

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by King Edward
    R'as Yes by feet is incorrect as was stated above it would be on foot. you could also use by foot.
    Okay,
    so on foot or by foot
    but never feet in any combination?

    It sounds reasonable.
    Now it would be nice to have someone explain it.

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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony
    Actually english is one of the easiest languages to learn, because it's logic is very consistent.

    I got told it wasn't easy because of our inconsistant grammar, and also many words with multiple meanings ie for & four, their and there. mean for example has at least 3 meanings!

    (There are many more but my minds drawing blanks at the moment.)

    But I'm no language expert infact I'm terrible at other languages, Luckly my girlfriend can speak English and French as well as passable Itailan, German, Mandarin and Russian!
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by King Edward
    I got told it wasn't easy because of our inconsistant grammar, and also many words with multiple meanings ie for & four, their and there. mean for example has at least 3 meanings!
    We call them "false friends" because they sound alike but are written differently and differ in meaning.
    In contrast to French it's quite easy. Latin was the horror.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by King Edward
    I got told it wasn't easy because of our inconsistant grammar, and also many words with multiple meanings ie for & four, their and there. mean for example has at least 3 meanings!

    (There are many more but my minds drawing blanks at the moment.)

    But I'm no language expert infact I'm terrible at other languages, Luckly my girlfriend can speak English and French as well as passable Itailan, German, Mandarin and Russian!
    Not at all, english is a very logical language with perhaps a few oddities, why do you think people from all over the world learn it so easily? Try dutch, I don't think anyone can really master it unless he/she speaks it from childhood. So many little crazy things that you just have to know.

  18. #18
    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    what about german/deutsch now that language is weird or they way french people count
    i mean 4 times 20 plus 8 = 88 c'mon are you stupid

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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    I am trying to explain how the rule works but to be honest every time i think i have it worked out i think of an exception.

    One a was thinking of was that you could make something by hand, or you could make it with your own hands. It just seems to depend on how you construct your phrase.

    He he im confusing myself now and this is supposed to be my first language!!!
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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Umeu 1
    what about german/deutsch now that language is weird or they way french people count
    i mean 4 times 20 plus 8 = 88 c'mon are you stupid
    Ainuntaggentich (that's Rotterdamish).

    And Frag, I love it when you get it all wrong, then go on to say English is such a logical language, and finally take it all back because you get, um, cold foots?
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  21. #21

    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    lol imo english isnt logical at all, on the other hand, german is.
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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sjakihata
    lol imo english isnt logical at all, on the other hand, german is.
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  23. #23
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianII
    cold foots?
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    I googled the term "by feet" and found some examples.
    It seems that non-native sites (Greek, Italian, German, Arab....)
    like to use this expression. You cannot find that much English sites, though.
    Two English examples:
    Uni of Minnesota
    I think the best transportation on campus is by feet or bus.
    Uni. of Manchester
    BY FEET OR TRAM Unlike many major cities of the world, Manchester city centre is surprisingly accessible by foot.
    Is it possibly an error of translation?
    Perhaps it's connected to Latin "per pedes"?

    R'as

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    Viceroy of the Indian Empire Member Duke Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    It should be "by foot". When talking about transport, the method of travel is always singular.
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by King Malcolm
    It should be "by foot". When talking about transport, the method of travel is always singular.
    Aha, this sounds like a good rule ... and strangely familiar.
    What do you say to the above examples I found on the web?

    R'as

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    Viceroy of the Indian Empire Member Duke Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Mistakes, probably. They are also by Americans and Mancs, which are hardly the best examples, I must say.

    If you use plural instead of singular, it most likely refers to multiple journeys. But in this case it should be "on" instead of "by".

    "I go around the city on trams"
    instead of
    "I go around the city by trams"
    Unless it is in the third person, when "on" or "by" can be used.
    "They go around the city by trams"
    or
    "They go around the city on trams"

    Also, "get" is more grammatically correct when using "by".

    "Feet" is always wrong, no matter what else is plural in the phrase.

    Hmm... I think that there are a few too many rules in the English language...
    The one I said earlier is not usually incorrect, so just use that one, I say.
    It was not theirs to reason why,
    It was not theirs to make reply,
    It was theirs but to do or die.
    -The Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    "Wherever this stone shall lie, the King of the Scots shall rule"
    -Prophecy of the Stone of Destiny

    "For God, For King and country, For loved ones home and Empire, For the sacred cause of justice, and The freedom of the world, They buried him among the kings because he, Had done good toward God and toward his house."
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    Urwendur rbl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Wink Re: English Grammar Question

    -
    Quote Originally Posted by R'as al Ghul
    How's your German?
    I heard it must be the strongest pain in the back to learn it?
    Don't try if you don't have to......
    Not at all! Learning German was pretty easy on top of English training. The real pain is forgetting it after three years' classes.
    -
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    Mouzafphaerre is known elsewhere as Urwendil/Urwendur/Kibilturg...
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  29. #29

    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    On foot or by foot.. I wouldn't have been able to tell you why that's what is it though..

    Just another part of the quirky English language

  30. #30
    Member Member Taohn's Avatar
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    Default Re: English Grammar Question

    Quote Originally Posted by R'as al Ghul
    Right, they are.
    I thought about an "active"/"passive" difference.
    active: I can go there on foot
    passive: People come here by feet.

    I'm still puzzled.

    R'as
    Just so you know, "people come here by feet" isn't really passive at all; it's active. "To come" is an intransitive verb and thus can never take the passive voice. A couple passive examples would be:"The people were brought here on foot" or "The people were forced to come by foot" (notice that even when "come" appears, it must be accompanied by a transitive verb).
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