I have this sentence:

Moreover, spelling’s error patterns and statistical trends can be derived (from /by/through/by means of) the software.

It means that the software outputs some statistical results in which some patterns can be discovered.

What is the best preposition for my meaning. Or even an equivalent sentence. "From" is the collocation word but I am afraid it is not applicable here.

  • 1
    I might not use a preposition: trends can be derived using the software.
    – J.R.
    Jul 9, 2015 at 14:59
  • And I might not use the passive: The software can discern error patterns and spot trends. Jul 9, 2015 at 15:16
  • @TRomano Thank you!, the challenge of nested contexts now turns to spelling patterns! ;)
    – Ahmad
    Jul 9, 2015 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


It depends on what you're trying to say:

X is derived from Y.

In this case Y is what forms the basis for X, so X is based on Y.

X is derived through Y.

Here Y is what performs the action, but X is derived from something else. Y just makes the action of deriving happen.

X is derived by Y.

In this case, Y would most likely be an action that starts the action of deriving. For example:

You can derive X from Y by clicking Z.

In your sentence, through would fit best as I suppose it is the software that does the deriving for the user.

  • But you didn't say your suggestion, I myself thing "using" or "by means of" is appropriate here
    – Ahmad
    Jul 9, 2015 at 15:01
  • Well, I'm not entirely sure what meaning you're looking for. I suppose it is the software that allows for the process of deriving to happen. So if that is the case, I would go for through.
    – Vlammuh
    Jul 9, 2015 at 15:05
  • Yes sure it is, can you imagine that something is derived from software?!
    – Ahmad
    Jul 9, 2015 at 15:10
  • Well, yes! Software can be derived from other software. But in your case, indeed, from would not fit.
    – Vlammuh
    Jul 9, 2015 at 15:11

X is derived from Y - X is something we obtained from Y.

X is derived by Y - Y is a method or tool used to obtain X. What X was derived from is not said.

X is derived through Y - this means the same as X derived by Y.

  • But you didn't say your suggestion, I myself thing "using" or "by means of" is appropriate here
    – Ahmad
    Jul 9, 2015 at 15:01

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