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By + Gerund

Stating method

Package
 

 

"How do I get this package open?"

METHOD

A by phrase with a gerund expresses how someone can do something: the means or method.

MAIN CLAUSE BY  + GERUND

You can open it

 

by using a knife.

 

by cutting the string.

 

by tearing open the end.

 

by removing the wrapping paper.

INSTRUMENT

A similar meaning may be expressed with a prepositional phrase:  with followed by a noun. We use The emphasis is more on the tool, equipment, or device.

MAIN CLAUSE WITH + NOUN PHRASE

You can open it

with a knife.

 

with a pair of scissors.

 

with a letter opener.

 

with your hands.

 

Note: The pizza was made by hand.  (method – not machine) / Stretch the dough with your hands. (means – technique)

 

 

 

 

Commonly Confused

Noun vs. Gerund

Actress on magazine cover
 

 

A Gerund vs. A Noun

GERUND WORD FORM

A gerund ends in -ing and it expresses the meaning of an activity. An article is not used before a gerund. 

METHOD

The graphic artist made the actress appear thinner by airbrushing.

The model lost weight by exercising.

The company improved magazine sales by marketing(putting together advertising, identifying customers, displaying products, shipping, etc.)

He earned money by painting(occupation)

They learned how to plan a wedding by reading.

NOUN WORD FORM

A few noun forms have an -ing suffix. See Noun Suffixes for other nominal suffixes.   To test if a word is a noun, put an article before it and/or a prepositional phrase after it. 

INSTRUMENT

The magazine editors changed the appearance of the actress  with airbrushing. 

The model lost weight with exercise / a diet /   exercising (*the exercising) 

The company improved magazine sales with their marketing. 
(the advertising, the networking the storage, the shipping)

He earned money with a painting.   (He sold it.)

 

They ended the wedding ceremony with a reading from Genesis 2:18-24.

 

*incorrect usage
Also see Noun Suffixes and Gerunds as Subjects.

 

 

 

Nouns with -ing Suffix

advertise (v.) – advertising (n.)

airbrush (v.) – airbrushing (n.)

beat (v.) – beating (n.)

bless (v.) – blessing (n.)

board (v.) – boarding (n.)

bookmark (v.) – bookmarking (n.)

come (v.) – coming (n.)

dance (v.) – dancing (n.)

edge (v.) – edging (n.)

end (v.) – ending (n.)

feed (v.) – feeding (n.)

forget (v.) – forgetting (n.)

forward (v.) – forwarding (n.)

fund (v.) – funding (n.)

handwrite (v.) – handwriting (n.)

highlight (v.) – highlighting (n.)

make (v.) – making (n.)

market (v.) – marketing (n.)

open (v.) – opening (n.)

paint (v.) – painting (n.)

plant (v.) – planting (n.)

read (v.) – reading (n.)

seat (v.) – seating (n.)

understand (v.) – understanding (n.)

This is a partial list of nouns ending in -ing. Note that an article may be used before a noun: the advertising, the airbrushing, a beating
"deverbal nouns"  (Huddleston 19 5.7.2g)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

He made the pizza by hands.

 

We stopped and went the rest of the way by feet.

SOLUTION

He made the pizza by hand (not by machine).
method – singular noun

He stretched the pizza with his hands.
instrument + plural noun

We stopped and went the rest of the way on foot.
method – expression "on foot"  singular

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Fix-It Solutions 

 

 

 

Complete the sentence with a method or an instrument (tool).

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

1.
a faucet

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Dog Training

dog

 

 

With or By?

  1. Select a response correct or incorrect.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 6-10" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

6.


     

7.


     

8.


     

9.
a dog leash

     

10.


     

discipline – behavior that follows rules

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Writing it Down

checklist

 

 

 

Complete the sentence

  1. Select the option that best completes the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 11-15" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

11.

12.

13.
.

14.

15.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 4

Cats Everywhere!

cats
 

 

 

Read for Errors

Kittens are cute, but having too many kittens is a problem. Pet owners can stop their cats from reproducing with spaying or neutering their cats. A veterinarian can do this by a simple surgery. The doctor removes the cat's reproductive organs. At the same time, the veterinarian can microchip the cat by inserting a microchip in the skin on the back of the cat's neck.

 Later, if the animal becomes lost, an animal shelter can look up the phone number of the owner by scan ID chip.

We can control the over-population of cats with a small amount of money and a short visit to a veterinarian office. Do your neighbors a favor and offer to take their cats too!

microchip (v.) – implant (an animal) with a microchip tag linked to a national computer network for purposes of identification

implant (v.) – insert in the tissue of the body

kitten (n.) – a baby or young cat

neuter (v.) –  remove the reproductive organs of a male cat

overpopulation (n.) – an area filled with too many individuals (people, cats, etc.)

pet (n.) – a domesticated animal: cat, dog, parrot, etc.

reproduce (v.) – make copies, breed (make babies)

reproductive organs (n.) – baby-making body parts (ovaries or testicles)

scan (v.) – read data using an electronic device

animal shelter (n.) – pound, place where lost animals are kept temporarily

spay (v.) – remove the reproductive organs of a female cat

surgery (n.) – an operation that removes or repairs a part of the body

veterinarian (n.) – animal doctor

 

 

 

 

Edit for Errors

 

16.
Kittens are cute, but having too many kittens is a problem. Pet owners can stop their cats from reproducing with spaying or neutering their cats.


17.
A veterinarian can do this by a simple surgery. The doctor removes the cat's reproductive organs.


18.
At the same time, the veterinarian can microchip the cat by inserts a microchip in the skin on the back of the cat's neck.


19.
Later, if the animal becomes lost, an animal shelter can look up the phone number of the owner by scan ID chip.


20.
We can control the over-population of cats with pay a small amount of money and a short visit to a veterinarian office. Do your neighbors a favor and offer to take their cats too!