English Lesson: By Vs. With

Michael Uncategorized 6 Comments

I like to eat and one of my favorite things to eat is bread. I have made bread by hand before and nothing is more delicious. You can make bread with any kind of flour – white, wheat, etc. My favorite bread to make is whole-wheat bread. I bake it by using an old coal oven. This bread smells so good when it is freshly baked, and when you cut it with a knife, the aroma fills the air.

Today I would like to look at by and with. Both of these words are used to show how something is done, but the way we used them is a little different. Do you know how to use these words? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson.

We use by when we talk about an action. After by, we use a Verb-ing (gerund)

  • I bake the bread by using an old coal oven
  • Tomoko improved her English by listening to the radio.
  • Brad caught the mouse by setting a trap.

We use with when we talk about the tool, ingredients, or part of the body that is used.

  • You can make bread with any kind of flour.
  • When you cut it with a knife, the aroma fills the air.
  • Brad caught the mouse with a trap.

Note the difference between how to use by and with:

  • Jack studied vocabulary by using a dictionary.
  • Jack studied vocabulary with a dictionary.

Note that by hand means made by a person or handmade.

  • I have made bread by hand before.

When we use the passive voice, we use by to show the person or thing that does the action

  • The power was knocked out by the hurricane
  • The fire was reported by the building manager

When we use the passive voice we use with to show the tool, ingredients, or body part used by someone

  • The bread was made with wheat flour and water
  • Jack’s car was washed with a brush.
  • The wall was painted with a lovely light green paint.

 This lesson was requested by a reader of this blog. If you have a suggestion for a lesson here, please let me know!

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