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  1. I will look up train ticket prices but I think that going by bus is cheaper.

and

  1. A gloomy man is going by bus and thinking his gloomy thoughts to himself.

Is the second sentence unnatural? Is it because the idiom "go by bus/train/plane" is only okay when it's used with go as gerund (as in sentence 1) or verb:

  1. We decided to go by bus, and we went by bus.

Or is sentence 2 really okay?

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    Sentence 2 is fine: the participle is a component of the progressive or continuous construction. "We decided we're going by bus." – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 22 '14 at 21:15
  • @StoneyB - thanks! Can we say "I was going by bus for many hours and it was driving me crazy"? (I'm trying to come up with an "awkward" sentence). Or is this invalid since I'd need the Past Perfect: "I'd been going by bus"? – CowperKettle Nov 22 '14 at 21:18
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    Yes, you can say that; but we would more likely say "I was on the bus for hours...* It isn't going that drives you crazy, it's being stuck there! – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 22 '14 at 22:35
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The second sentence sounds unnatural to me because there's no destination-phrase or purpose-phrase mentioned. My ear says the full idiomatic verb-phrase is "going by bus to ..."

A gloomy man is going by bus and thinking his gloomy thoughts to himself.

A gloomy man is traveling by bus and thinking .... OK

A gloomy man is going by bus to meet his long lost cousin.... OK

A gloomy man is going by bus to the Big Apple ... OK

How are you getting into the city?
-- I'm going by bus. OK too

Hello, honey. I'm out in the boondocks and the cell reception is poor. Can you hear me?
-- Yes, faintly. What are you doing?
I'm going by bus and thinking of you... Not OK

P.S. To go by bus (absolute) = to opt to travel by bus

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