Source: Islamic State video threatens attacks in Russia 'very soon'


In this this file photo released on May 4, 2015, on a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, Islamic State militants pass by a convoy in Tel Abyad, northeast Syria.

The verb pass obviously is trying to say that the Islamic militants are passing past the cameraman who's taping them or any other point on the road for that matter. But how exactly do you understand pass by a convoy? A convoy is usually a group of anything that's military and moving. Everything makes total sense to me here except for the use of the preposition by. So, what exactly does pass or move by a convoy mean?

The picture in question (copied from the website for your convenience): enter image description here

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    I think it's probably a typo for pass by in convoy. It might be an NNS error in which by is intended to signify something like as, in form of. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 12 '15 at 23:48
  • You can pass by a convoy, that just means both you and the group are moving. In this context, it would mean the convoy is comprised of people who are not among the Islamic State militants. – Justin Young Nov 12 '15 at 23:57
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    Also, a convoy is a group of anything that is organized and moving and is not necessarily military in nature. – Jason Patterson Nov 13 '15 at 0:02
  • @JustinYoung I thought of that, too; but it doesn't seem to be borne out by the photograph. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 13 '15 at 1:08

It is possible that the reporter literally called in the story. The reporter may have said "passed via convoy", and the transcriber heard "passed by a convoy".

"Pass by a convoy" can make sense. Suppose the story's illustration had shown "a convoy" of slow-moving trucks, and faster-moving gun-toting Arabs. Then the gun-toting Arabs would have "passed by a convoy". But the actual illustration clearly shows that the gun-toting Arabs are in a convoy of trucks.

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