The Preposition BY – Learn Quickly with Video (2021)

The preposition BY is often used in English conversation. One of the most common ways to use BY is to show how something is done. Learn different ways to use BY with some natural examples. Start talking just like a native speaker!

5 common ways to use the English preposition BY

  • How we travel
    Harrison goes to work by bicycle if the weather is nice.
  • How something is made
    All the desserts in the restaurant are made by hand.
  • BY mistake – BY accident – BY chance
    I grabbed my wife’s keys by mistake this morning.
  • With the Passive Voice
    I was bitten by a mosquito last night. (was bitten is the passive voice)
  • BY can mean close to/next to
    Marcel get in the picture. Stand over there by Henry. (stand next to Henry)

Preposition BY – How we do something

BY – How we travel

My family went to Osaka by bullet train.

Harrison goes to work by bicycle if the weather is nice.

preposition BY
Travel by

I got in late last night. I missed the last train so I had to come home by taxi.

*Note – When we walk we don’t say by walk, we say on foot.

I went to the mall on foot yesterday, it took 45 minutes.

BY – How something is made

“All the desserts in the restaurant are made by hand.”

*We can also use the adjective handmade to mean – made by a person using their hands rather than by machines [LINK]
“All the desserts in the restaurant are handmade.”

Dessert vs Desert – English pronunciation guide

These shirts are made by machines so I worry about the quality.  

preposition BY
Made by

How we pay for something

Would you like to pay by credit card?

*We pay in cash (not by cash)

A: Can you pay by credit card?
B: I’ll pay in cash. It’s easier.

preposition BY
pay by

BY mistake – BY accident – BY chance

If we do something ON purpose it means that we meant to do it. We wanted to do it. We use the preposition BY with the words mistake, accident, and chance if we didn’t do something on purpose.

I grabbed my wife’s keys by mistake this morning.

*I didn’t mean to take her keys. It was a mistake.

Walter and I met by chance at the coffee shop after work. It was great timing, I haven’t seen him for a long time. We could catch up.

*I didn’t plan to meet Walter.

preposition BY
by mistake

Terry entered my email address on this message by accident. I wasn’t supposed to see it.

*Terry didn’t want to send me a copy of the email. It was an accident.

by accident

BY – With the passive Voice

Passive voice uses the verb to be (am, is, are, was, were) plus the past participle form of the verb in the main action. When the Passive voice is used something happens to the subject of our sentence.

We use the preposition by if we want to say what caused the thing to happen.

  • I’m so itchy. I was bitten by a mosquito last night. (was bitten is the passive voice)
  • The academy awards are watched by people all over the world. (are watched is the passive voice)
  • The painting was bought by a private collector in 1911. (was bought is the passive voice)

You can check out my awesome blog post on the passive voice here: Passive Voice

We also use BY to mean close to or next to.

Marcel get in the picture, stand over there by Henry. (stand close to/next to Henry)

A: Has anyone seen my coffee mug?
B: It’s by the microwave in the break room.

Every night I pack my knapsack for the next day and set it by the door. This way I can leave for school quickly after breakfast.

Preposition BY – Watch on YouTube

Preposition BY – Listen as a Podcast on SoundCloud

Write a sentence in the comment section using the preposition BY. Try using an example from the post. Do you have your own that example you can use right now?

My 5 newest, awesome English blog posts

Learn more uses for the preposition BY at https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/by_1?q=by

2 thoughts on “The Preposition BY – Learn Quickly with Video (2021)”

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