The following sentence is from the Diary of a Wimpy kid 3:

After swim practice, Rodrick would pick me up in his band's van.

I have two explanations for this sentence:

  1. Rodrick will use his band's van to pick me up. The preposition "in" means using something as a way or a method.
  2. Rodrick picked me up and let me stay in his band's van.

Which one is correct? How to parse this sentence?

  • Explanation 1 is right. Consider 'In his Van' and 'On his Bike'... Oct 17, 2013 at 5:31

2 Answers 2


The meaning here is the most immediate one: in his band's van is an adverb prepositional phrase describing how Rodrick would pick me up. Rodrick will be in the van (that is, he will drive it to pick me up); nothing more elaborate is intended (such as that you'll be staying in the van longer than it takes him to pick you up).


Usually, your first interpretation is the correct one, but the words could conceivably mean that you are in the van, and then he proceeds to lift you off the groud, hence "picking you up".

  • That's not quite what I meant to say, but sure, your edit serves the purpose ;)
    – TheLaurens
    Oct 17, 2013 at 13:28

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