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What does the phrase works by mean here? The structure of the sentence doesn't seem correct to me.

Borgarnes water also has a particularly high surface tension, which the brand explains works by "inhibiting evaporation of the volatiles that want to escape quickly —the aromas, the bouquet."

After doing some research I guess that the author wanted to say that a particularly high surface tension gives a special aromas to the gin because of inhibiting evaporation of the volatiles.

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    It's poorly written. Take out "the brand explains" and it's a bit easier to understand. – Hot Licks Dec 26 '15 at 15:42
  • It's also bollocks: if it "works by inhibiting evaporation of the volatiles," then it would have no "aromas." It's advertising hyperbole. – Mark Hubbard Dec 26 '15 at 16:26
  • The effect of high surface tension is to slow the evaporation of aromas, what means less "bouquet" when opening the bottle and, once opened, a longer duration of the "volatiles" in the liquid. The expression "works by" introduces the mechanism. – Graffito Dec 26 '15 at 18:42
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Nothing particularly wrong with "works by," however silly it may sound. There are better ways to express the same sentiment; specifically, one could replace "works by" with "is achieved through":

Borgarnes water also has a particularly high surface tension, which the brand explains is achieved through "inhibiting evaporation of the volatiles that want to escape quickly —the aromas, the bouquet."

Let's make it even more readable:

According to the manufacturer, in addition to [whatever they were bragging about earlier], Borgarnes water has a high surface tension achieved through inhibiting evaporation of the aromas that constitute the bouquet.

  • Why use a $10 word when a $1 word will do? – The Photon Dec 28 '15 at 21:02
  • @ThePhoton: As you can see, the $1 word is causing a bit of confusion in this case. Some problems just won't go away until you throw some money at them. – Ricky Dec 28 '15 at 21:10
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"by doing something (by + gerund)" describes the way/method something is done.

  • I learn English vocabulary and grammar | by reading novels and making notes.

You can say "by +gerund" is a how-indication.

Longman Dictionary, by preposition, no. 2 http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/by_1

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