Should I use "by" or "with" as a proposition connecting a statement about somebody standing out with the description of their distinctive feature that makes them stand out?

For example,

Henry kind of stands out from the rest of this class with(?)/by(?) his ability to come up with quick and spontaneous answers to the teacher's questions, which at times turn out to be so funny, that they can refreshen the tone of the whole remainder of the lesson time.

  • We would say simply the remainder of the lesson. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 13 '18 at 11:28

I would use in there, or for, but with and by are both grammatical, though by is shading into marginal territory.

P.S. stands out, although it is predicated of Henry, is on a semantic level predicated of those beholding him. It means "is (more) noticeable", that is, noticeable to those taking note. That's why by is marginal. It's like saying The cardinal is easy to see against the brown of the leafless trees by its bright red coloration. by is a shade "off" there with see, and yet if we change see to recognize or discern or pick out it's fine.

  • Thanks for the explanation - it shows the logic behind the usage. – brilliant Sep 13 '18 at 11:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.