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Psychiatrists and psychologists have successfully taught a lot of people to manage their stress using/by using meditation techniques.

Is there a subtle difference between "using" and "by using"? To my knowledge, they have the same meaning, and can be used interchangeably.

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    Please ask only one question at a time! I would say that using, by using and by the use of all mean the same. Sep 1, 2022 at 10:41
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    These are good question, but they should be broken into separate posts.
    – stangdon
    Sep 1, 2022 at 16:05
  • Compare "Psychiatrists and psychologists have successfully taught a lot of people to manage their stress according to a radio program I heard" or "Psychiatrists and psychologists have successfully taught a lot of people to manage their stress improving their lives" (you could put in a comma after stress in any of these examples). A participle clause like "according to a radio program", "using meditation techniques" or "improving their lives" can have several different functions, but using "by" makes it clear you're talking about an instrument/method.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 1, 2022 at 16:26

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The preposition "by" requires an object, so the following word ("using") would be construed as a gerund. If you omitted the preposition, then "using" would generally be construed as a present participle. In either case, that structure ("by using" or "using") describes what the people are doing to manage their stress, so the meaning is similar.

Note that this is one common interpretation, but others are possible. For example, some people do not distinguish between gerunds and present participles.

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