How Do I Explain the Difference Between “Ride” and “Drive”?

Teaching the difference between “ride” and “drive” is initially simple; “drive” has many different uses outside of operating a vehicle. However, practicing all of these additional uses can create confusion in the classroom, as there is no similarity between them.

For example;
Mr. Yamada drives a car.
Mr. Yamada drives a screw into a piece of wood.
Mr. Yamada drives his subordinates to achieve success..
Mr. Yamada drives a golf ball over 400 yards.
Mr. Yamada drives a baseball through a window.

carWith no similarity between all of these examples, exclusively using “ride” in reference to cars becomes a lot more appealing, but as all native speakers know, the driver of the car cannot also be a rider in the car. To avoid all of the difficulty associated with learning each meaning, and the associated vehicle for each, simply have the student use “use”.

For example;
Mr. Yamada uses a car.
Mr. Yamada uses a bicycle.
Mr. Yamada uses a train.
Mr. Yamada uses a horse.

By avoiding “ride” and “drive” altogether, a more concise word can be used, making English conversation easier for the listener as well as the speaker.

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2 Responses to How Do I Explain the Difference Between “Ride” and “Drive”?

  1. Clamsicle says:

    In the bible, Jesus rode his ass across palm leaves. In your expert opinion, is this an accurate translation? Should Jesus ride his ass, sit atop his ass, or he drive his ass into town?

  2. Bob Doherty says:

    Riding an ass is similar to riding a horse; a bit is inserted into the animal’s mouth, and the rider rests on top of the ass. With driving, a circular motion is employed, such as that of a steering wheel. In the case of animals, the circular motion is not used, therefore the animal cannot be “driven” by it’s rider. Additionally, “riding” implies that the will of the vehicle or animal is independent of its passenger(s). I hope this answers your question.

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