I have made the following sentence

By selecting (or clicking on) an element, a dialogue opens in which one can ...

I used "By" just on my intuition, but I am not sure if it means as I expect. It should mean "after (or as a result of ) selecting or clicking on an element, a dialogue opens ....

3 Answers 3


Your sentence is correct. Your definition isn't perfect.

By does not mean after.

In this context it's similar to "how something is accomplished." So using by to mean as a result of is pretty reasonable.


By opening the windows you get fresh air.

"by+gerund" gives the act necessary to get a certain effect. What does your dictionary say about by + gerund? You also can google for by + gerund to get explanations and exercises.



As he select an element, a dialogue box will open up in which he can select various distinguish properties of the element

  • Your sentence seems to be awkwardly written. The dialogue box doesn't open at the same time the element is selected, but after and there are other issues.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 18, 2015 at 19:58
  • let me know other issues.. it will help me in learning Jun 19, 2015 at 7:32

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