Learn English: BY or WITH?



My name is Emma, and in today's video I am going to answer your questions on:

What is the difference between "by" and "with"?

Many students make mistakes with "by" and "with", so in today's lesson I'm hoping to

help you with this so you won't make so many mistakes and you'll understand:

What are the differences between these two words?

Okay, so to start with I have here some questions.

I want you to think: Which ones are correct and which ones are not correct?

I also want you to think which sentences...

Why are they correct?


So, why are they correct and why are they incorrect?

So my first sentence: "I learn English by watching engVid."

Compare this to: "I learn English with watching engVid."

Which one do you think is the correct form?

Do we use "by" or do we use "with"?


If you said: "I learn English by watching engVid." you are correct.

Okay? And I will explain why in the next part of this video.

So: "I learn English with watching engVid."

no, we don't use that.

Okay, so what about the next two?

"I write with a pen.", "I write by a pen."

Which one do you think is the correct sentence, and which one is incorrect and why?

Okay, if you said: "I write with a pen." you are correct.

In this case this is the correct one.

And: "I write by a pen." this is-enh-incorrect.

So, before we talk about some of the differences, let's talk about the similarities.

How are "by" and "with" the same?

Well, they both answer the question: How?

Okay? So they're both the answer to the question: How?

How do you learn English?

I learn English by watching engVid.

I learn English by reading my dictionary every night.

That's probably not a good idea, but I learn English by talking to people.

Okay? So that's answering how you do something.

Similarly with "with", it also answers the question: How?

How do you write?

Well, I write with a pen.

How do you eat dinner?

I eat dinner with a fork. Okay?

Or I eat dinner with chopsticks.

So they both answer the same question: How?

But they are a little bit different, so let's look at these differences now.

Okay, so let's look at some example sentences with "by".

"I turn on the computer by pushing the on button."

Okay? So this is, again, answering the question: How?

How do you turn on the computer?

Well, I turn on the computer by pushing the on button.

I want you to take a moment to look at this sentence.

What comes after "by"?

We have here "pushing".

"Pushing" is a verb. Okay?

So I'm just going to underline this.

So we often use...

After "by" we often have a verb when we're explaining how something is done.

Let's look at another example.

"I keep healthy by exercising."

So, again, after "by" you'll notice we have a verb: "exercise". Okay?

In this case it's "exercising".

So, one of the first things to notice is after "by" we often have a verb.

I have here: "by verb", but that's not all.

If you look at the verb, what form is the verb in?

Well, take a moment.

What do "pushing" and "exercising" have in common?

They both end in "ing", so I'm going to write here: "ing".


So we use "by", after "by" comes a verb, and then comes "ing".

You know: How do you keep clean?

I keep clean by showering.

How do you study?

I study by...

Well, not hanging out with my friends, that would be terrible for studying.

I study by reading over my notes.

Okay? So after "by" we have the verb and "ing".

So let's do one together.

"I learned karate (or karate) by _________ YouTube."

What do you think the verb would be?

We could say: "by watch".

Is that right? "...by watch YouTube"?

No, we need the "ing", perfect.

"I learned karate by watching YouTube."

Okay? So, again, this is very useful because any time you're explaining how, if you have a

verb and "by" then you can explain how you do something.

Okay, now let's look at some of...

Some more differences between "with" and "by".

So before I begin teaching you more about "by" and "with", I just want to say that these

are the general rules, and there are always times in English when rules are broken or

when there are exceptions.

Okay? And so these are the most basic of the rules with "by" and "with".

Okay, so now let's look at when we're talking about a noun.

We've just talked about using "by" with a verb ending in "ing" to answer how to do something.

Well, we can also talk about how...


By using a noun.

So, to remind you what a noun is, it's usually a person, a place, a thing, or maybe an idea.

So let's look at some examples.

Oh, before we get to some examples, one of the major rules when we come to "by" is we

often use it with communication. Okay?

So when we're talking about how we communicate, we usually use "by".

We also use "by" a lot when we're talking about transportation.

There are also a lot of other exceptions, but the main ones that I want you to know

for now is when we're talking about transportation and communication.

So, for example: "I will contact you by email."

"Email" is an example of a noun.

Okay? So this is not a verb.

In this case this is a noun.

"I will contact you by email."

And email is a form of communication.

We can change this to: "I will contact you by phone.", "I will contact you by Messenger.",

"I will contact you by pigeon."

That would never happen, but just an example of what I mean by communication.

"I will message you by text."

Okay? So, again, these are communicated-based.

Then we use "by" for transportation when we're talking about nouns.

So, what are some examples of nouns for transportation?

We have buses, subways, bikes, boats, airplanes, ferries.



Motorcycle, taxi, Uber.

These are all forms of transportation and they're all nouns.

So we can use "by" when we're talking about these nouns.

"I will go by bus.",

"I came by car."

You'll also notice something.

When we use "by" and we're using a noun, we don't usually have the article there.

So I don't say: "I will go by a bus." or "I came by a car."

It's usually without any article.

"I will go by bus."

So there's no "the", no "a" here.

"I will go by subway.", "I will go by airplane.", "I will go by bike."


So, again, we often use "by" with nouns when we're talking about communication or transportation,

and then there are some other times we talk about them, various exceptions also, but this

is the main rule.

So now let's look at "how".

I mean not "how", "with".

Let's look at "with".

Okay, so now let's talk about "with".

So just like "by", "with" answers the same question: How do you do something?

Okay? So the question is: How?

So I have here some examples.

How do Italians talk?

Well, you know, they talk in different ways, but: "Italians talk with their hands."

for example.

How do you point?

"I point with my fingers."


So, these are some examples with "with".

So when we were talking about "by", we looked at "by" followed by a verb and followed by

nouns, and we talked about how the nouns usually have to do with communication or transportation.

With "with" we use it usually with a noun.

So, again, a noun is a person, place, or thing, like "hands" is a noun, "fingers" is a noun.

And we usually use "with"...

And again I'm saying usually because there's a lot of other cases we use it, but this is

the main rule.

We use "with" with body parts, with...

When we're talking about tools or different instruments.


So, for example: "Italians talk with their hands."

So we have "with" here and we have a body part: "hands".

Maybe, you know, people who are deaf often talk with their hands.

"I point with my fingers.", "I point with my toes."

Okay? So, again, we have another body part: "fingers".

"I think with my brain.", "I smile with my teeth and lips.", "I run with my legs."

Okay? So we use it for body parts.

We can also use it when we're talking about tools or instruments.

So when I'm talking about instruments I'm talking about things we use.

"I cleaned the floor..."

How? How did you clean the floor?

"Well, I cleaned the floor with a mop."

So a mop is like a tool or an instrument.

You can say: "I cleaned the floor with a broom.", "I cleaned the floor with a dustpan.",

"I ate dinner with a fork."

So this is answering: How did you eat dinner?

"I ate dinner with chopsticks.", "I ate dinner with a spoon."


How did you cook?

"I cooked with a microwave.", "I cooked with a pot.", "I cooked with an oven."

You know: How did you camp?

"I camped with a tent."

So we use this a lot of the times when we're talking about body parts, tools, or instruments;

things that help you do things.

Okay, so we've covered a lot of ground here.

We've covered "by" with verbs, we've covered "by" with nouns, and we've covered "with"

with nouns.

So I want to invite you to come check out our website at www.engvid.com.

There, you can actually do a quiz to practice everything you learned in this video.


You know, there's a lot of information here so I really hope you practice these things.

I also want to invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

There, you can find a lot of other resources about grammar, pronunciation, conversation, listening,

and all things English.

So until next time, thank you for watching and take care.

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