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  • Does

Ich fahre Bus.

mean both

I drive a bus. (=I'm a bus driver.)

and

I ride the bus. (= I travel on a bus as a passenger.) ?

  • Why do you use Bus with no article here?
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Ich fahre Bus can mean both: I am a bus driver or I ride in a bus. It depends on the context.

If you say Ich fahre den Bus or Ich fahre einen Bus you are the driver.

The sentence Ich fahre mit einem Bus means normally you ride on a bus. But depending on the context, it could also mean you are the driver. If it is clear you drive, then the sentence Ich fahre mit einem Bus expresses the detail, which vehicle you take.

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So "Ich fahre Bus" can be both direct and indirect, and this is where the ambivalence comes from. –  Turion Feb 13 at 10:46
    
@Turion "Ich fahre Bus" means mostly not to drive a bus. Only in a talk between drivers. –  Wolf Feb 15 at 0:35

In this case "Bus" is treated like a mass noun just like water.

Ich trinke Wasser.

Ich fahre Bus.

The fact that English needs an article in your examples has more to do with the verbs that can't handle mass nouns, I guess. It does seem to work with car brands though... at least in colloquial use

I drive Mercedes

Anyway. Here's an example that shows that treating bus as a mass noun is not unknown in English.

I go by bus.

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"Ich fahre Bus" means both "I'm a bus driver" and "I'm a passenger on a bus". Right? –  stillenat Feb 11 at 21:12
    
@stillenat. Was that the question? Sorry, I missed that. Yes, it can mean both. –  Emanuel Feb 11 at 21:22
    
@Emanuel: There are much more situation where it means that you are a passenger. –  Wolf Feb 15 at 0:38

As stated previously, Ich fahre Bus can mean either or. For future reference, when you're traveling somewhere by way of something, you would use mit. For example:

Ich komme mit dem Bus.

Du kommst mit dem Rad.

Sie bringt mich mit dem Auto zur Schule.

Ich komme mit dem Moped nach Hause.

An exception to this would be using your feet:

Meine Mutter geht zu Fuss nach Hause.

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