Speaking of public transportation, be careful when using the plural “subways.”

Don’t use “There are lots of subways in my city” or “Lots of people take subways in my city.”

There is only one “subway” in your city. That refers to the whole network of trains and tunnels and stations. It is generally referred to as “the subway.” So you should say:

“Lots of people take the subway in my city.”

To express the same thought as “there are lots of subways in my city” you should use something like:

“There are lots of subway lines in my city.”

Or in a more natural way:

“The subway runs very frequently in my city.”

The plural “subways” is used mostly to talk about multiple subway systems. As in:

“There are many dirty subways in America.”

That means there are many dirty subway systems in cities across America.

I see this error a lot in TOEFL essays as they often require students to write examples about their everyday life and how they get around. A classic error is something like:

“There are a lot of busses and subways for people in my city.”

This is annoying to fix because it requires something like:

“There are a lot of busses and a great subway system for people in my city.”


“There are a lot of busses and subway lines for people in my city.”

In case you are wondering, the compartment you sit in on the subway is called a “subway car” and the whole bunch of cars plus the place where the driver sits is called a “subway train.” I have probably never spoken the words “subway train” out loud in my life.

There ya go. A ton of writing about a simple error. Life is suffering.

Don’t even get me started on “I am on a bus” vs “I am on the bus.”

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