The Differences Between “By” and “With”


The Differences Between “By” and “With”

Both prepositions can be used to show how something is done.

‘By’ can be followed by gerund (-ing form):

He improved his English by reading novels.

You can change the look of that room by redecorating it.


‘By’ is followed by a noun in combinations referring to the means of transportation or combination:

by plane/car/bus/subway

by fax/mail/phone/sea


‘With’ is used when tools or parts of the body mentioned:

I opened the Pepsi with a bottle opener.

He pushed the door with his foot.


Note: ‘by hand’ ┬ámeans ‘handmade’, ‘made by a person, not by a machine’:

She made the pie dough by hand.

Compare to: The mother touched the girl’s forehead with her hand.