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Which of the following sentence choices is correct? I guess both are. But is there a difference between them?

The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him friend.

The best way to destroy your enemy is by making him friend.

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1) The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him a friend.

2) The best way to destroy your enemy is by making him a friend.

The first sentence sets up a relationship between the first and second part.

The best way to do something = make x something.

The "to" is a function word that allows the two parts to relate to each other. It connects the two ideas as a general proposition. "to" can often refer to purpose or outcome of something as well.

  • He went to school to get a diploma.

Here is proof of this from the British Council: We use the to-infinitive: to express purpose (to answer "Why...?"): to plus an infinitive

It does not refer to how like the word by.

The second sentence with by refers to a process for doing something or how something is done.

For example:

  • I made a cake by baking it.
  • He finished the essay by just writing it.
  • They worked all night by making an effort.

So, by introduces the idea of how to do something.

"By making him your friend" refers to the process or activity you engage in.

  • They made enemies of their classmates by being so mean to them.

Here's the proof of this from an online grammar site:

**Method— by verb-ing vs. Instrument— with (a) noun

METHOD A method of doing something can be expressed with a prepositional phrase that includes by + a gerund. (The prep. phrase is an "adjunct" to the main clause because the sentence can be considered complete without it.)**

You can open it by using a knife.

by plus a gerund

  • dvTer, you should give a reason. Not one person besides myself has even addressed the main issue here. – Lambie May 10 at 19:03

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