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I know that both prepositional phrase and present participle can be adverbial modifier, but how should I decided which one is should be used when they were used to show a particular method or way of doing something. As in the following two sentence.

Sentence 1:

Those are some of the reasons why the father told his son, "Always give your wife what she wants." And why he also issued these words of caution, "Always treat her as you would treat a queen." That's because relationships can swing both ways with equal force. You can avoid a lot of problems by giving in to her, and you can also cause a lot of problems by giving in to her.

Sentence 2:

You can make a lot more money using the bank's money, and you can lose a lot more money using the bank's money. So the price to pay is an investment in your education and several years of experience.

My Questions:

1, Can I put the word by in the second sentence right before using?

2, How to decided which form is the most proper one to choose when using them as adverbial modifier, gerund or present participle?

3,Can I remove the word by from the first sentence?

4, Is the present participle phrase in the second sentence indicates in which way and method, or time?

In general, I don't think I can remove the propitiation by in sentence 1, but just don't know how to explain it.

  • In question 1 do you actually mean second sentence? There is no using in the first. – djna Aug 25 '16 at 9:56
  • oops~yes it means second sentence – Henry Wang Aug 25 '16 at 9:59
  • So we are interested about whether we could insert by before using in the second sentence, or remove by from the first one. I find it hard to see a reason, but for sure avoid problems by giving in seems to need that by and although it does make sense to say make money by using the bank's money the by here does not seem so important. – djna Aug 25 '16 at 10:06
  • This is what I want to know that when can we drop the word by to turn the prepositional phrase (by doing something) into present participle(doing something) and to express in which(what) way that something to be done or achieve. – Henry Wang Aug 26 '16 at 1:28
2

Ask yourself, Could I substitute the word when here for the word by, or introduce the word when, without changing the meaning?

If you can substitute or introduce the word when without changing the meaning, then you can use the bare participle without the preposition.

You can get a lot of cuts and bruises (when) playing rugby.
You can get a lot of cuts and bruises playing rugby.

You can avoid a lot of problems by giving in to her.
You can avoid a lot of problems when giving in to her. [different meaning]
You can avoid a lot of problems giving in to her. [meaning is unclear]

To use the word by there with the rugby example is not impossible (by playing rugby), but it is slightly comical, because the object of the preposition by is the instrumentality through which we achieve or obtain something.

Were you attempting to get cuts and bruises? No. Were you attempting to avoid a lot of problems with the wife? Yes. Thus, "by giving in to her".

  • As you said, 'you can also cause a lot of problems by giving in to her.' For this sentence in which we use word by is because there is a word also. Is that right? If it went like this:" you can cause a lot of problems by giving in to her." It will like what you said that it is slightly comical. – Henry Wang Aug 25 '16 at 10:23
  • Achieving ends and causing things are quite different. The difference between by and when is not so marked, with causality. You can cause problems when giving in to her. You can cause problems by giving in to her. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 25 '16 at 10:25
  • What about for this two sentences: 1) He makes a living driving truck. 2) He makes a living by driving truck. Both driving truck and by driving truck here are adverbial modifier indicates means and methods. So, as in this kind of situation, when do we use the word by and when do we left it out? – Henry Wang Aug 25 '16 at 10:29
  • Substituting or introducing when is a valid test to decide whether you can use the bare participle with a preposition, but it is not the only condition under which a preposition can be dropped. We do say He makes his living selling cars. He got sick eating spoiled food. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 25 '16 at 10:34
  • Can I remove the word by in first sentence? Also, in the second sentence, is 'using bank's money' to indicate time or in what way and methods? – Henry Wang Aug 25 '16 at 10:39

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