At school, we learn that drive in English is fahren in German. But is it really as simple as that?

One of my first conversations in Germany shocked me a little. A guy told me he’d been to a bar at the weekend and had got really drunk. He told me that after leaving the bar, he drove home and went to bed.

“He drove home?” I thought. “Isn’t that illegal? And dangerous?”

In German, the verb fahren is mainly used when you travel with a vehicle. In this case, the guy actually meant that he’d travelled by train.

In English, people generally use the word drive to describe travelling by car and other words when talking about other vehicles (e.g. I took the train home or I went by bus).

If you want to go on foot, you can walk; if you want to go by bike, you can cycle. And, of course, if you want to go by car, you can drive.

As well as driving a car, you could also drive a bus, a train or a taxi, but you need a special licence for these. Just ask any bus driver, train driver or taxi driver where you can get one.

You can’t, however, drive a bike or a motorbike. If you have one leg on each side, you would ride, so you would ride a bike or ride a motorbike, just as you would ride a horse.

How do you usually travel around your town or city?

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