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Sentence: The exercise was written __ me __ a branded pen.

Problem: Fill in the blanks with apt. preposition.

Attempt: First blank is "by" 100% sure. Second one is either "by" or "with". I don't want to use "by" because it becomes repetitive. But, the use of "with" sounds like collaborating with a person in writing the exercise. I would say: "The exercise was written by me with Mr. John Doe" than "The exercise was written by me with a branded pen"

Have I interpreted basics of "by" and "with" wrongly? And what's the correct answer here?

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In my opinion,

The exercise was written by me with a branded pen.

sounds all right. It is not incorrect and I think its the best preposition you can use. Ideally you could use "using", but then its not a preposition, but a verb.

The exercise was written by me using a branded pen.

  • by is the option since it shows who performed the action in this passive construction. – Alejandro Jan 13 '16 at 11:35
  • As in "The exercise was written by me by a branded pen" ? – Varun Nair Jan 13 '16 at 11:36
  • No, I only meant it for the first preposition. The choice for the second one is obvious. – Alejandro Jan 13 '16 at 11:38
  • Yeah, that is pretty obvious too. The OP was certain about that :) – Varun Nair Jan 13 '16 at 11:40
  • We cut with a knife. We write with a pen. Using is not a more idiomatic choice. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 13 '16 at 12:44

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