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I try to comment on my son’s actions while he’s playing with his toys. He mostly play with his cars. How should I describe the moving of the toy on the surface in order to sound natural and grammatically correct?

I thought of such variants:

The toy car is riding on the floor fast.

I doubt this variant because ‘ride’ is a transitive verb and I’m not sure that it can be used with a car.

The toy car is going on the floor fast.

The toy car is driving on the floor fast.

Can I use ‘driving’ speaking of a toy car?

The toy car is moving on the floor fast.

Which of these variants are right and is there a more natural way of expressing this idea?

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    It's a bit counter-intuitive but I would say parents in this situation might play along with the child's pretend. So it feels more natural to say things like "you're driving that car fast!" or "that car's going fast!" and not acknowledge the floor at all.
    – Jay Bee
    Dec 5, 2023 at 11:13

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The choice of word might depend on the kind of toy, and who you're talking to. First, let's note that some grammar sticklers might say that you shouldn't use "fast" as an adverb and you should use "quickly" instead. It's such a common usage, though, that in everyday conversation they would be unreasonable to object, but in formal writing I might choose another word like "rapidly," "speedily," etc. Also, as others have noted, "across the floor" is more idiomatic than "on," and both could be left out if you wanted.

Now, what's the best verb? Is the car moving by itself, or is the child pushing it? Maybe it's a toy that can be wound up, like the kind you roll backward and then let go, or maybe it's a remote-control toy. For these, I would keep the structure we have here that makes "the car" the subject. As others have suggested, "rolling" is probably the simplest choice, and there are other colorful choices like "speeding" or "zooming." Of your suggestions, there's nothing wrong with "going" or "moving"; they're just unlikely choices because they're so vague. But "riding" would be a mistake because it usually means "being moved by something": a person rides in a car.

BUT: I'm going to suggest that you could say "the car is driving" if you're entering into the child's imaginative play. To him, the car is driving, and it's not inappropriate to speak about it using this imaginary frame of reference. "Wow! That car is driving so fast! I hope it can steer well! I wonder whether it has enough gas?"

Meanwhile, if the child is actually pushing the toy along, and if I'm not using this imaginary language, then I think I would make the child the subject of the sentence. I wouldn't say "the car is rolling across the floor" when it's being pushed; I would say "my son is pushing the car across the floor."

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I agree with you that "riding" and "driving" don't fit very well, although they could be used.

"Moving" works, but some other possibilities are "shooting" and "scooting", which suggest rapid movement of a small object.

The adverb "fast" would be better right after the verb, whichever verb you choose.

In fact, "scooting" and "shooting" already contain the idea of fast motion.
Instead of "on the floor", you can suggest movement better with "across the floor".

Putting some of that together, "The toy car is scooting (fast) across the floor."
where "fast" is optional.

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    'Riding' is travelling in or on a vehicle or animal; a car doesn't ride. Dec 5, 2023 at 11:17
  • Thank you for your detailed answer @JackO'Flaherty! Could you, please, clarify whether ‘moving’ is the only option if I don’t imply FAST movement another time, or I also may use ‘going’/‘rolling’ in this case?
    – Kate
    Dec 5, 2023 at 15:55
  • @Kate "Rolling" works well. I don't think "going" fits as well - it sounds more like self-directed movement, which you wouldn't expect from a toy car. Dec 5, 2023 at 17:16
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to speed is also a verb that would work.

The toy car is speeding across the floor.

to zoom is a colloquial verb, and one a child might use:

The car zoomed across the floor.

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