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"The top of Mt.Fuji was covered with clouds."

Is there a difference if you replace "with" with "by"? I didn't think there was a difference, but I was told that if I used "by," the answer would be marked as incorrect. In this context, is there a real difference?

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    Whoever told you by was "incorrect" in this context is an idiot (and almost certainly not a native Anglophone, either). It's true with is slightly more common, but there's nothing wrong with by (or in), and the choice of preposition makes no difference to the meaning. It's just a stylistic choice. Nov 18, 2021 at 15:43

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"By" would be more appropriate than "with" if emphasizing a change from not being covered to being covered. "With" might be more typical if describing a static scene with clouds.

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  • The top of Mt.Fuji was covered with clouds.
  • The top of Mt.Fuji was covered by clouds.

Both forms are grammatically valid, and both seem quite natural to me, a native speaker of AmE.

The "with" form would be more usual if the clouds were stationary, or came off the mountain as mist. The "by" form is more natural if the clouds re passing by the mountain. But these are nuances, and I can't think of a context in which one form would be acceptable and the other would be wrong.

I agree with the comment by FumbleFingers that:

Whoever told you by was "incorrect" in this context is an idiot ...

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