South African track star Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail over the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The decision was made after a four-day hearing, with the magistrate ruling the prosecution had not made a strong enough case that Pistorius would try to flee the country. He’ll next face court on June the fourth. (ABC News)

What does the preposition ‘with’ mean? : 1. In the company of; accompanying, or 19. As a result or consequence of, or something else?

2 Answers 2


In this case your first definition, "In the company of; accompanying", would apply. The sentence could be rewritten as:

After a four-day hearing, the magistrate ruled that the prosecution had not made a strong enough case that Pistorius would try to flee the country.

In essence, the two things happened at the same time and were related (or "accompanied" each other); after the four-day hearing, or when it ended, the magistrate made a ruling.

As J.R. points out, you might also consider Definition #27:

Used as a function word to indicate close association: With the advent of the rockets, the Space Age began.

This definition has a more abstract connotation than the first definition, which could be interpreted as referring to a physical association.

  • 1
    I'd be more inclined to pick Definition #29: "Used as a function word to indicate close association", as in: The Space Age began with the advent of the rockets (or, The decision was made with the magistrate ruling in favor of the defense). I think "accompanying" in Definition #1 refers to a more literal accompanying – i.e. that sense of with means alongside. But there's room for interpretation either way, and no need for dogmatism here.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 10:28
  • @J.R. Quite right! I chose from the 2 definitions mentioned in the question instead of looking at all of them, as #1 appeared correct to me, but you're right, #29 does fit better. I'll investigate further next time!
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 14:48
  • You can always edit your answer, too, if you think that would represent an improvement. Feel free to incorporate any of my findings into your answer, in the interest of giving passersby the most accurate information in the answer itself.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 15:37
  • I think this is wrong. The two events are not the ruling and the hearing, they are the ruling and the decision (that Oscar would be granted bail). This is not simply "accompaniment"; the ruling caused the decision. If it was feared that Oscar would flee the country, he would not have been granted bail.
    – Axe
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 21:44
  • From wikipedia: "The main reasons for refusing bail are that the defendant is accused of an imprisonable offence and there are substantial grounds for believing that the defendant would: 1. Abscond, 2. Commit further offences while on bail, 3. Interfere with witnesses"
    – Axe
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 21:59

It's not precisely any of TheFreeDictionary definitions. Probably the closest is #19 - as a result or consequence of, but it's worth looking at the relevant OED definition:

39 a: Indicating the cause or reason: In consequence of, as a result of, by the action of; because of, by reason of, on account of; from, through, by. [emphasis mine].

In OP's exact citation, by would be an unremarkable alternative, but in certain other contexts with the same sense, with is very much preferred:

[The musician's] performance ended with [a final song]

With those particular highlighted words, Google Books returns 5850 hits, where by returns only 176.

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