I'm confused about how or when to use 乘 and 坐 when discussing vehicles. It seems like you can say:

坐火车 or 乘火车

坐巴士 or 乘巴士

坐出租车 or 乘出租车

If these are interchangeable, what is the difference between the two, and when should you use them?

  • 1
    can also say 乘坐 with same meaning,on the face of it 坐 would seem more casual
    – user6065
    Dec 29, 2017 at 20:14
  • also, some other guys may say : '搭火车', '搭公交'. Jan 5, 2018 at 10:16
  • 乘 likes by while 坐 likes ride or sit on. 乘 is usually used in written language, like in notice / broadcast on bus / train.
    – xenophōn
    Mar 27, 2018 at 9:30

5 Answers 5


乘 = to board

坐= to sit (in)

坐火车= sit in a train (take seat on train )

乘火车= board a train

坐巴士= sit in a bus (take seat on bus)

乘巴士= board a bus

You can use '乘' , '坐' or '乘坐' when you take or ride any transportation that you can board and has seats.


We use 騎 (mount/ ride) when the transportation has a saddle instead of seats. For example, horse and motorcycle.

馬 (mount/ ride horse)

摩托車 (mount/ ride motorcycle)


I see the difference the same as "take the bus" ("乘车") vs "ride the bus" ("坐车").

Of course one can specify what kind of "车" it is-"火车", "汽车“(“巴士”), or "马车"


I think they are interchangeable. I could not get a case where you can only use one over the other in this sense.

They can be translated as 'take' or 'by'. For example,

我们乘/坐火车去北京。 // we will go to Beijing by train. Or we will take a train to go to Beijing.


In chinese,when you express : travel by public transport
"坐" or "乘", it is usered in oral。
"乘坐",used in formal occasions
for example。
我坐火车去纽约 = 我乘火车去纽约, I go to New York by train
when you in airport,the Aircraft broadcasting will say:
欢迎乘坐飞机。welcome to board plane.
when you express someone sit in something,you only say:
你坐在床上 ,you sit in bed.
你乘在床上,or 你乘坐在床上,they are wrong express.


There are no different in sense of taking public transport, Just a habit. even though, you can use both them in a sentence.

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