1

I have phrased the sentence below awkwardly, I assume:

By numbering the examples, you are a genius.

I want to know how it can be fixed to fit a proper and clear structure. And I suppose it would be more natural if it was stated like this:

You are a genius by numbering the examples.

I think of that structure as if-statements but when they actually happen, not if they were to happen, like:

If you numbered the example, you would be a genius.

Also, would "consider" fit in the sentence?

By numbering the examples, you are considered a genius.

  • I don't see anything wrong with any of the sentences you wrote, maybe a little bit more context should show the difference in each sentence? – Kaique Apr 8 '19 at 14:45
  • If that was true, then @Jasper would have said a simple "yes". – Tasneem ZH Apr 8 '19 at 15:17
  • You just edited the question. Now I get it, you want to know whether one of your phrases is more natural than the other. – Kaique Apr 8 '19 at 15:25
  • Your second example should be fine. "by numbering the examples, you are a genius" – Kaique Apr 8 '19 at 15:29
3

There's certainly a valid sentence structure of the form "by [verbA] you [verbB]". It can use other prepositions, as well, such as in or through.

However, your first example is not natural. It doesn't work. I think that's because the first verb is an action verb, while the second is a stative verb.

The way to say that a person is shown to be a genius by showing the examples is to actually use words that mean that:

By numbering the examples you are shown to be a genius.
By numbering the examples you show your genius.
In numbering the examples you prove that you are a genius.

If you wanted to say that number the examples actually caused them to be, or become, a genius, you want use become:

By numbering the examples you become a genius.

For an example where both are stative:

In knowing all prime numbers less than 1,000,000, you are a genius.

But not, although it is less awkward than your example:

In knowing all prime numbers less than 1,000,000, you become a genius.

This is less awkward, and I'm not 100% sure why... perhaps the first half can be stative and the second half action, but not vice versa. However, this is not awkward:

By learning all prime numbers less than 1,000,000, you become a genius.

More confidence about what sounds awkward is likely to come with practice, rather than learning rules. English is rather lacking in consistent general rules.

  • Thank you very much. In example #3, is it "... the prove" or "... that prove"? If it is the latter, then is it possible for the second "that" to be omitted? Also, can I substitute "become" with "are considered"? (as to not give the indication that the person was not very intelligent but now s/he is) – Tasneem ZH Apr 9 '19 at 0:11
  • 1
    @TasneemZH Sorry, the was a typo for you. The that is optional in any case, though I would consider it more formal to use it. – SamBC Apr 9 '19 at 0:13
2

Although it feels awkward and I wouldn't use it, I believe that "By numbering the examples, you are a genius" is technically correct. An example that doesn't feel as awkward is "By reading this book, you are on a path to..."

For a less awkward-feeling sentence, I would say something along the lines of "By numbering the examples, you have demonstrated your genius."

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