Preposition – “By”


Preposition by as an agent or doer:


In passive voice constructions, the preposition by is often used to indicate the doer or agent of the action.


Here are some examples:


The book was written by Mark Twain.

In this sentence, by indicates that Mark Twain is the person who wrote the book.



The cake was baked by my grandmother.

Here, by tells us that the action of baking the cake was done by my grandmother.



The report will be submitted by the deadline.

In this case, by shows that the submission of the report will be done by someone before the deadline.



The painting was created by a famous artist.

By identifies the famous artist as the one who created the painting.



The house was built by a skilled team of construction workers.

In this example, by points to the team of construction workers as the ones who built the house.



In each of these sentences, the preposition by introduces the doer or agent of the action, which is a common usage of by in passive voice constructions.







Preposition by as the means or method:


The preposition by can also be used to indicate the means or method by which an action is performed. In this case, it is often followed by a gerund (the -ing form of a verb).


Here are some examples:


She fixed the car by tightening the loose bolts.

By in this sentence indicates the means or method (tightening) by which she fixed the car.



He communicates with his friends by texting them.

Here, by shows the means of communication, which is texting.



I finished the project by working late into the night.

By suggests that working late into the night was the method used to finish the project.



The detective solved the case by analyzing the evidence.

In this case, by indicates the means (analyzing) through which the detective solved the case.



They learned about history by reading books.

By here indicates that reading books is the means by which they learned about history.



In these sentences, by is used to specify how the action is performed, providing information about the method or means used.








Preposition by indicates to a deadline:


The preposition by can also be used to indicate a deadline or a specific point in time by which an action is expected to be completed.


Here are some examples:


Please submit your report by Friday.

In this sentence, by indicates the deadline by which the report should be submitted, which is Friday.



I’ll have the project completed by the end of the month.

Here, by specifies the time (the end of the month) by which the project will be completed.



The package should arrive by 3:00 PM.

By in this example indicates the specific time (3:00 PM) at which the package is expected to arrive.



Can you finish your homework by tomorrow morning?

In this sentence, by sets the time frame (tomorrow morning) for completing the homework.



They promised to return the books by the due date.

By in this context signifies the deadline (the due date) for returning the books.



In these sentences, by is used to refer to a specific point in time or a deadline by which an action or event is expected to occur or be completed.









Preposition by refers to a place with the meaning at, near, or over:


The preposition by can indeed refer to a place with the meaning of at, near, or over. Here are some examples:


By the lake: This means at or near the lake.

For example: We have a picnic by the lake every summer.



By the riverbank: This indicates a location near the edge of a river.

For example: They built their house by the riverbank for the beautiful view.



By the sea: This means at or near the sea or ocean.

For example: They have a vacation home by the sea.



By the beach: This indicates a location near the beach.

For example: The resort is right by the beach, so it’s very convenient for swimming.



By the mountains: This means near or in the vicinity of the mountains.

For example: Their cabin is by the mountains, providing a peaceful escape.



By the roadside: This refers to something located along the side of the road.

For example: There’s a beautiful garden by the roadside.



By the park: This means near or adjacent to the park.

For example: Their house is by the park, so they enjoy the greenery.



By the door: This indicates something is located near or next to a door.

For example: You’ll find the keys by the door.



In these examples, by is used to describe a location that is at, near, or over a particular place, providing information about the proximity or position of something in relation to that place.








The preposition by can refer to a place with the meaning of passing or past.


Here are some examples:


Drive by: This means to pass a location while driving.

For example: We’ll drive by the store on our way home.



Walk by: To walk by a place means to pass it while walking.

For example: I saw him as I was walking by the cafe.



Fly by: This refers to the action of an object or aircraft passing a location quickly in the sky.

For example: We watched the planes fly by overhead.



Run by: To run by means to pass a place while running.

For example: I’ll quickly run by the post office to mail these letters.



Sail by: This means to pass a location while sailing on water.

For example: We had a beautiful view of the coastline as we sailed by.



Cruise by: To cruise by a place indicates passing it while on a cruise, often referring to a leisurely journey by ship.

For example: We’ll cruise by several picturesque islands on this trip.



In these examples, by is used to describe the action of passing a particular place or location, often while in motion or transit.








By as an adverb:

By can also function as an adverb when used with past, indicating that something or someone is moving or passing by.


Here are some examples with verbs of motion:


The car drove by without stopping.

In this sentence, by (used with drove past) indicates that the car passed without stopping.




 I saw the bus go by as I was waiting at the bus stop.

Here, by (used with go past) indicates the action of the bus passing by the bus stop.




He walked by without saying a word.

By (used with walked past) suggests that he walked past the location without speaking.




The cyclist rode by us at a high speed.

In this example, by (used with rode past) conveys that the cyclist rode past quickly.



The birds flew by in formation, creating a beautiful sight.

By (used with flew past) describes the motion of the birds as they flew past in formation.



In these sentences, by is used as an adverb to indicate the motion or passage of something or someone.








Verbs requiring the preposition by:


There are many verbs in English that are commonly followed by the preposition by. These verbs often require by to convey the means, method, or agent of an action.


Here are some verbs that typically use by:


Aided by: He was aided by his colleagues in completing the project.


Assisted by: She was assisted by a team of experts.


Surrounded by: The house was surrounded by beautiful gardens.


Inspired by: The artist was inspired by nature.


Mistaken by: They were often mistaken by their identical appearances.


Captivated by: The audience was captivated by the musician’s performance.


Accompanied by: The president was accompanied by her security detail.


Followed by: The parade was followed by a fireworks display.


Guided by: They were guided by the principles of justice.


Fascinated by: She was fascinated by the history of ancient civilizations.


Overwhelmed by: He was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude.


Hindered by: The project was hindered by a lack of funding.


Stimulated by: The students were stimulated by challenging questions.


Impressed by: The interviewer was impressed by her qualifications.


Influenced by: Her decisions were influenced by her upbringing.


Surprised by: She was surprised by the sudden turn of events.


Controlled by: The robot is controlled by a sophisticated computer system.



Divide by: To find the result of division, you often divide one number by another.

For example: 10 divided by 2 equals 5.



Increase by: When you want to express how much something has grown or risen, you can use increase by.

For example: The price of the product increased by 10%.



To judge by: This phrase is used to make an assessment or judgment based on certain criteria.

For example: To judge by his appearance, he seemed very knowledgeable.



To mean by: When you want to clarify the meaning of a word or phrase, you might say,

What do you mean by that?



To take by: This phrase can mean to surprise or catch someone off guard.

For example: His sudden decision to quit his job took everyone by surprise.









Here are some common expressions and idiomatic phrases that use the preposition by:


By and large: This means in general or for the most part.

For example: By and large, the project was a success.



By all means: This is used to give permission or to emphasize a strong recommendation.

For example: If you have any questions, please ask by all means.



By the book: To do something by the book means to follow established rules and procedures precisely.



By the skin of one’s teeth: This expression indicates a very narrow or close escape from a difficult or dangerous situation.

For example: He passed the exam by the skin of his teeth.



By the way: This is a phrase used to introduce a new topic or to make a casual comment or observation.

For example: Oh, by the way, did you hear about the new restaurant that opened downtown?



By hook or by crook: This means by any means necessary, often implying a determination to achieve a goal, even if it involves unconventional methods.



By the same token: This phrase is used to show that a similar principle or reasoning applies to a different situation.

For example: If we expect honesty from others, by the same token, we should be honest as well.



By and by: This means before long or in the near future.

For example: Don’t worry; things will get better by and by.



By the numbers: To do something by the numbers means to follow a specific set of steps or procedures in a methodical and precise manner.



By the seat of one’s pants: This expression implies that someone is doing something without careful planning or preparation, often relying on instinct or improvisation.



By accident: This means something happens unintentionally or by chance, without planning or on purpose.

For example: I bumped into her by accident at the store.



By chance: Similar to by accident, this means something occurs unexpectedly or without a specific intention.

For example: I met my old friend by chance at the airport.



By day: This refers to something that happens during the daytime or daylight hours.

For example: He works in the office by day and studies at night.



By the day: This phrase is often used in the context of rental rates or pricing, indicating that something is charged or paid for on a daily basis.

For example: The car rental costs $50 by the day.



By heart: If you know something by heart, it means you have memorized it completely. For example: She recited the poem by heart.



By land, by air: These phrases describe different methods of transportation. By land means traveling over the ground, such as by car or bus, while by air means traveling through the air, typically by airplane.



By light: This can refer to something that is illuminated or visible because of light.

For example: The room was lit by light from the window.



By no means: This is used to emphasize that something is absolutely not true or not possible.

For example: I am by no means an expert in this field.



6 metres by 8 metres: This expression describes the dimensions of something, in this case, an area or space. It means that the area measures 6 meters in one direction and 8 meters in the other.



By mistake: This means that an action or decision was made unintentionally or in error.

For example: I deleted the file by mistake.



By retail: This phrase is used in the context of selling goods individually to consumers, as opposed to selling in bulk or wholesale. For example: They sell their products by retail in their store.



Step by step: This means to proceed or make progress one small and manageable part at a time, typically in a systematic or organized manner.

For example: She followed the instructions step by step to assemble the furniture.



By train: This refers to traveling using a train as the mode of transportation.

For example: They are traveling by train to the city.



By the weight: This can refer to pricing or selling items based on their weight.

For example: The fruit is sold by the weight in this market.



These expressions and phrases using by have specific meanings and are used in various contexts to convey different ideas or describe particular situations.












Preposition – “By”

Preposition – “Between”

Preposition – “Below”

Preposition – “At”

Preposition – “Behind”

The Types of Prepositions