The word ‘by’ is very common in English. It is mainly used as a preposition in a number of different situations and contexts. But the word ‘By’ can be used as well as an adverb. However, various common uses of ‘by’ as a preposition are discussed below :
a. by + place : When the word ‘by’ is followed by a place, then it means beside, at the side of, next to, close to etc. Look at the examples below :
1. My village is just by the river Brahmaputra.
2. The city of Paris lays just by Thane.
3. My younger sister lives by Kamlapur railway station.
4. I would love to live in a house by the sea.
B. by + mode of transport like by train, by plane, by taxi, by boat etc. This structure means how we travel somewhere. Look at the following examples :
1. I usually go to the office by public bus.
2. Our boss come to the office by car.
3. Residents of Keraniganj usually cross the river Buriganga by boats.
4. Job holders in Tangi commute to Motijheel by trains.
5. You can visit Cox’s Bazar by plane as well.
c. By + mode of communication such as by telephone, by post, by email and by fax etc. This structure describes how you communicate with someone. See the examples:
1. Can I speak to the boss by your phone.
2. I will send the receipt by post.
3. Please confirm the order by email.
4. Can you send the box by courier please?
d. By + mode of payment like by credit card, by cheque etc, which means how we make payment for something or how payment is done. Some examples involving mode of payment are given below :
1. I have made the payment of Eid shopping by debit card.
2. Can I pay the bill by credit card?
3. Nowadays payments by credit or debit cards are getting popular.
Here note that with cash payment we use ‘in’, not by. See the examples below :
1. We usually make the payment in cash for paper subscription.
2. You need to make the payment in cash. In this case, payment by credit or debit card is not applicable.
In spoken English, preposition ‘in with cash’ can be omitted completely.
1. We make cash payment for newspaper subscription.
2. You need to make the payment cash for this purchase.
By + reflexive pronoun : When the word by is followed by reflexive pronouns like by myself, by himself, herself, by themselves etc, it means ‘doing something alone’. See the examples:
1. Let me do the work by myself.
2. Sarah, please do the math by yourself.
3. Let’s do something by ourselves.
4. My child has solved the problem by itself.
By + -ing verb. This structure is used to show or describe how to do something. It gives us more information about how to achieve a particular result. See the examples :
1. You can turn on the radio by pressing that button.
How can I turn on the radio?
answer: by pressing the button
The phrase “pressing the button” describes how to do something (how to turn on the radio).
2. How can I run this ipad?
Ans : You can run it by pressing the circular button at the top left corner othe surface.
By+ time expression : The meaning of this structure is an action must be done ‘not later than a particular time or before that time and or exactly at that time. We use this structure for deadlines. Look at the examples below :
1. You have the deadline to finish the work by 15 May. (meaning by that date or at that date)
2. Attendees at the programme are requested to vacate the hall by 5 p.m.
3. We are requested to complete the makeup by 8 p.m.
4. You have to prepare the report by next Friday.
5. Students must enroll for the program by the end of July.
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