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I was reading an article in The Independent (an interview of a native English speaker) and I read the following sentence:

We travelled across by the boat to Mljet National Park . . .

Shouldn't we say "by boat" instead ?

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2  
I believe the meaning could be sort of like this: "We traveled across." "By boat?" "Yes, by the boat to Mijet National Park." –  Damkerng T. Apr 21 at 12:50
    
By itself, the sentence is a little odd, but not grammatically incorrect. If previously they had talked about the boat in question (e.g., a particular ferry, or a friend's runabout), this would simply be a reference to that particular boat, and thus more correct. If this is the first mention of any boat, I would say the construct is a bit clumsy. –  Phil Perry Apr 21 at 17:00

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

We travelled across by boat, by train, and so forth, with no article, is usual when you are speaking merely of the mode of transport you are using. It is equivalent to We took a boat, a train, and so forth.

By the boat, the train, and so forth imply a particular boat or train—usually ‘the’ regularly scheduled boat or train or whatever to that particular destination.

We traveled by the 7:48 to Birmingham.
We traveled by the Brussels ferry.
I took the #87 bus downtown.

This is probably why Ms. Coleman speaks of “the boat to Mljet National Park”. As Vic suggests, we would ordinarily keep across to together if we were speaking of the park as our destination; but Ms. Coleman is probably using “to Mljet National Park” to distinguish which boat: the one which goes to that park as opposed to other boats which go to other locations on the island, or to other islands.

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The question of that answer is Where has seduced you? - is it okay? What sort of ellipsis it uses? Also, what about the word order? Is it like boatseller said (that I agree too) it's okay in speech? –  Maulik V Apr 21 at 12:38
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@MaulikV It's not uncommon, colloquially, to use Where? for What place?. –  StoneyB Apr 21 at 12:46
    
While correct, these examples notably change the statement from the original question. "We travelled across by the red boat..." differentiates the red boat from other boats. The original statement indicates a single boat so the inclusion of "the" differentiates the boat from other non-boat things. –  boatseller Apr 21 at 13:47
    
@boatseller How can you tell that she is distinguishing that boat from non-boats rather that boat from other boats? Both your reading and mine rest upon implicature and inference; and since the map suggests that the only non-boat mode of transport to Mljet is swimming, I'll stick with my reading :) –  StoneyB Apr 21 at 13:52
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Mljet Nat'l Park is on an island so the speaker "travelled across" water. –  boatseller Apr 21 at 14:26

There is nothing specifically wrong with that statement.

"by boat" vs "by the boat":

Using "by the boat" implies that there is an alternative to the boat for crossing, such as a bridge.

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Do you agree with the word order as Vic is pointing? –  Maulik V Apr 21 at 12:21
    
If it were originally written, you would typically find "by the boat" at the end. However, since this is likely quoted speech, it's fine. The speaker might have wanted to reveal the boat before the park for a certain effect. –  boatseller Apr 21 at 12:35
    
+1 after reading StoneyB's answer! But again, do you agree with the arrangement of the words? Okay, it's speech and thus a bit informal touch is okay. Thank you! –  Maulik V Apr 21 at 12:35

That's not the only mistake. The correct way to write it would be:

"We travelled across to Mljet National Park by boat.

Adverbs of manner go before the main verb, after the auxiliary verb or at the end of the sentence. When there are two or more adverbs in the same sentence and there is a verb of movement, such as "go", "come", "leave", travel", then the adverbs come in the following order: place-manner-time

I know that this was not what you are asking about, but there were two mistakes.

As for "By boat", there's nothing to explain; we always say."by boat","by bus", "by train",etc.

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The concern is why put the. Everybody is fine with by boat. –  Maulik V Apr 21 at 12:22
    
I don't agree that by boat needs to be at the end of the sentence. –  snailplane Apr 21 at 12:27
    
@snailplane but it's not incorrect either, is it? –  Maulik V Apr 21 at 12:29
    
Dropping "to" from the original sentence significantly changes the meaning. –  Nigel Harper Apr 21 at 12:30
    
@NigelHarper If we drop to from the original sentence, does it even mean something? You mean - We travelled across by the boat Mljet National Park, don't you? –  Maulik V Apr 21 at 12:33

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