Can we use the phrase "by means of" instead of "with the help of", and vice versa?
Example: I wrote above text by means of / with the help of a keyboard.
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"By means of" is generally used when describing a tool or a mechanism. "With the help of" is more often used to refer to a source of assistance.
So, "I typed this comment by means of a keyboard." Yes. "I typed this comment with the help of a keyboard." I'd say no. The keyboard did not assist you, it was a tool. "I typed this comment with the help of my friend Alice." If Alice provided advice, or assisted you in using the keyboard, yes.
For the most part, I think people use "by means of" when discussing an inanimate object and "with the help of" when talking about a person or people. But that's not a hard and fast rule. "I sent this message by means of Bob" might be considered a reasonable sentence, if Bob was the messenger. I think it's awkward, but possible. "I found my way with the help of a GPS" works, if you're thinking of the GPS as assisting you in the task.
Often, but not always. Saying, for example, that you finished a report "by means of my friend Jerry" sounds strange and rather unpleasant. But saying you finished the same report "with the help of Jerry" is perfectly natural and clear.
I can't immediately think of a similar example for the converse, so you should be able to go with the rule of thumb that "by means of" is a narrower phrase that mostly belongs in a sentence when you're referring to something that's essentially mechanistic or impersonal: a tool, not a human or animal.
"by means of" means "through the use of". thus the difference is "through the use of" vs "with the help of". further, "through the use of" is certainly akin to "facilitated by" and near "because of".
hence, "by means of" is a deterministic relationship, as in "it is done this way because i used this thing."
"I typed this comment through the use of a keyboard." yes, because keyboards type things.
"I wrote the above text by means of a keyboard." no, because keyboards don't exclusively 'write'; they frigging type.
"I wrote the above text with the help of a keyboard." yes, because typing helps in the process of writing -- but doesn't make it so. most authors use keyboards to help them write their books.