By vs. With

By and with can both be used to say how somebody does something, but there is an important difference. By refers to the method; with refers to the tool.

  • He killed the spider by hitting it. (method)
  • He killed the spider with a stone. (tool)

In passive clauses, by introduces the agent – the person or thing that does the action.

  • She was knocked down by a car.

Exercise

Test your understanding of by and with with this grammar exercise.

Complete the following sentences using by or with.

1. They killed the snake —————- hitting it.

2. They killed the snake —————– a stone.

3. I got where I am today —————– hard work.

4. We managed to get it out —————— a screwdriver.

5. She was green ——————- envy.

Answers

1. They killed the snake by hitting it.

2. They killed the snake with a stone.

3. I got where I am today by hard work.

4. We managed to get it out with a screwdriver.

5. She was green with envy.

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Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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