The word “by” seems like such a simple word for those attending our English language school in Hawaii, but upon a closer look, the many ways it’s used can be quite confusing. While used as a preposition in most cases, your head may be spinning considering all of the ways it can be used as a preposition. Hopefully the examples below will help clear things up a bit!
By and the reflexive pronoun. Doing something alone can mean you did something “by yourself.” In this structure it’s proper to use “by myself,” “by ourselves,” or in a sentence such as “She went to the movie by herself (or himself).”
By when it means close to, beside, next to, etc. Examples of using the word “by” in this context include “The building is by a railroad track” or “Karen lives by a lake.”
By when used to describe a method of communication. No doubt you’ve heard people who speak English say they communicated with someone “by email,” “by telephone,” “by text,” or even “by mail.” An example of this would be “I spoke to Karen by telephone.”
By when used to describe a method of travel. How did you get to your destination? Did you go “by car,” “by bus,” or “by taxi?” A good sentence using “by” in this manner would be “My family often travels to Paris by plane.”
By when describing how an item is paid for. If you purchased a new bracelet or motorcycle, did you pay for it “by check” or “by credit card?” The word “by” would not be proper if you paid “in” or “with” cash.
By in relation to a deadline. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel, you may have heard something similar to “guests must check out by 11 a.m.” Another example of using the preposition “by” in regards to a deadline would be “students must enroll for English classes by the end of July.”
As you can see, there are countless ways to use the word “by” and we’ve only covered a handful of them here! Yes, learning English can be challenging – but the reward is well worth it. If you’re considering an English language school in Hawaii, contact ICC today to learn more about our wide array of programs.