Travel, Trip and Journey (countable and uncountable nouns)

Travel, trip and journey – do you know how to use these words in English? It’s not straightforward so learners often make mistakes. In this videos you’ll learn that travel is usually an uncountable noun and that we don’t usually use it as a verb. You’ll also learn when to use the words trip and journey. This video will help you fix the most common mistakes.

Click here if you’re planning a trip to see our video on how to check in at an airport
Click here to see our video on how to check in at an airport
Click here to learn the lyrics of the beautiful Doris day song ‘Sentimental Journey’
Click here to learn about a road trip Jay and Vicki took
And click here to see lots more videos on tricky English words and vocabulary

Travel trip and journey video transcript

Kathy!
How are you?
Fine.
We wanted to speak to you about our business trip.
You know we’re travelling to California next month?
Yes.
Can we travel business class?
Absolutely not!
But it’s a six hour flight.
It’s such a long journey.
Business class is far too expensive.
I think that was a ‘no’.

Here are three words my students often muddle up. They have similar meanings. In this video we’ll learn how to use them correctly and fix some common mistakes.

Wow! Look at that view. Isn’t that beautiful?
Yeah! Let’s go up to the top of that mountain, Jay.
That’s a long walk.
I think we can travel by cable car.
Really?
Yeah.
Wow!

The word ‘travel’ is usually a verb – an action – and it means to go from one place to another.

Riding a bike is a great way to travel around the city. I can slip through all the traffic.

You know we’re travelling to California next month?
Yes.
Can we travel business class?
Absolutely not.

We spell the word ‘traveling’ with one ‘L’ in American English and two ‘Ls’ in British English. And we call people who travel, travellers.
In American English we spell that with one ‘L’. And in British English it has two ‘L’s.

I’m traveling to New York today and then on to Boston. It’s a business trip.

Travel’ is normally a verb, but not always. Let’s look at another example. Is ‘travel’ a verb here?

My job involves a lot of travel. I’m often away from home.
My job involves a lot of travel. I’m often away from home.

In this sentence, travel is a noun – a thing. And here’s where it get tricky. If ‘travel’ is a noun, we use it to talk about travel in general. So we might talk about air travel, rail travel, space travel or time travel.

The rising price of jet fuel is pushing up the price of air travel for business travelers.

When ‘travel’ is a noun, it’s normally uncountable. That means we can’t talk about ‘a’ travel. This is wrong. We use it to talk about travel in general, so this question is wrong too.
If you’re talking about a specific piece of travelling, you need to use other words instead, like journey or trip.

But it’s a six hour flight.
It’s such a long journey.
Business class is far too expensive.

We use ‘journey’ when places are a long way apart, so there’s a big distance or a lot of time involved. We might talk about a journey acrosss the Sahara, or a journey to outer space.

How long does it take you to commute to work, Jay?
Two hours.
Wow! That’s a long journey!
Umm.
I guess that’s why you’re always tired when you get to work.
Ummm.

So a journey involves a long distance or a lot of time. Trips are similar.

I’m traveling to New York today and then on to Boston. It’s a business trip.

We can take trips for business or trips for pleasure. Tourists in Paris like to take boat trips for fun. When you know someone is going to travel somewhere, you can say, ‘Have a nice trip’.

Have a nice trip, Frank. Sure Kitty. See you when I get back. Bon voyage.

Now be careful with this word. If it’s a verb, it means something different. If you catch your foot on something and almost fall, you trip. Jay nearly tripped over there. But when trip is a noun, it means a journey to a place and then back again.

So how was your trip?
It was great. I think we got the contract.
Oh well done!
And what about your journey?
How was that?
There were a lot of delays.

Trip and journey are both nouns here and they mean slightly different things. Journey refers to the travelling, but trip is the travelling and everything that happens on the way, so the whole visit as well as the journey.

So how was your trip?
It was great.
I think we got the contract.
Oh well done!
And what about your journey?
How was that?
There were a lot of delays.

So let’s review. There’s travel. It’s normally a verb. We travel from place to place and sometimes it’s a noun – an uncountable noun. When we’re talking about a specific piece of travelling, we use journey and trip.
Journeys are often longer than trips. Also journey is just the travelling and trip is the travelling and everything that happens on the way. And that’s it. Now you know how to use these words.

Oh hi Kathy!
So how was California?
Awful!
Fantastic!
The journey was terrible. The airline lost my luggage. I hate traveling.
My journey was wonderful. I got upgraded to first class for free.
Oh that’s nice. But what happened in your meetings?
Nothing! My trip was a waste of time. I didn’t sell anything.
I got three new clients.
Oh well done Vicki. What a successful trip!

Are you travelling anywhere soon? Have a safe journey and enjoy your trip.

Click here to see an earlier version of this video with a clickable transcript
Click here to see our video on how to check in at an airport
Click here to learn the lyrics of the beautiful Doris day song ‘Sentimental Journey’
Click here to learn about a road trip Jay and Vicki took
And click here to see lots more videos on tricky English words and vocabulary

2 thoughts on “Travel, Trip and Journey (countable and uncountable nouns)

    • August 3, 2019 at 4:34 am
      Permalink

      So glad you liked it Deepak Thanks for writing.

      Reply

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