Common Prepositional Phrases with “BY” in English

Useful preposition collocations with the preposition BY...

  • By a whisker

Meaning: By a very small distance

E.g. I’m lucky to be alive. The bus missed me by a whisker.

  • By accident

Meaning: Accidentally; unintentionally

E.g. Sorry, I knocked over the vase by accident.

  • By accident

Meaning: As the result of some undesigned, unintended, unrelated, natural, or random occurrence

E.g. The car got totaled by accident; a giant snowdrift fell off the church roof.

  • By accident

Meaning: By chance; unexpectedly; as the result of an unrelated series of events

E.g. She overheard the information by accident.

  • By and large

Meaning: Mostly, generally; with few exceptions

E.g. It was, by and large, an unexceptional presentation.

  • By any chance

Meaning: Possibly; perhaps

E.g. Are you by any chance looking for a new staff member?

  • By default

Meaning: In absence of any opposing action

E.g. If we don’t do something, they’ll win by default.

  • By definition

Meaning: According to, or as a matter of, definition

E.g. This property holds for all polygons; and since, by definition, all triangles are polygons, it holds for all triangles.

  • By definition

Meaning: Necessarily; always; certainly

E.g. Almost by definition, a conversation requires both parties to accept each other's viewpoints to some extent.

  • By far

Meaning: To a considerably large extent, easily

E.g. Paris is by far the largest city in France.

  • By hand

Meaning: Manually; without the use of automation or machines

E.g. The computers went down and they had to do all the bookkeeping by hand that day.

  • By heart

Meaning: Knowing completely; as having committed completely to memory

E.g. He used to live in that town, and he still knows all the streets by heart.

  • By mistake

Meaning: By accident; without intention to do so

E.g. Today I took your packed lunch to work by mistake.

  • By no means

Meaning: Certainly not; definitely not

E.g. By no means am I suggesting that euthanasia should be outlawed, but rather that we should look at its inherent risks.

  • By now

Meaning: At some time in the near past

E.g. My parents should have arrived by now. I wonder what's keeping them.

  • By oneself

Meaning: Alone; without assistance or help from others

E.g. You ate the whole thing by yourself?

  • By oneself

Meaning: Alone, without another's company

E.g. He sat by himself in the corner, waiting quietly.

  • By rail

Meaning: Via a train

E.g. Cotton was increasingly shipped by rail.

  • By sail

Meaning: Via a sailboat or sailing ship

E.g. It took many weeks to cross the Atlantic by sail.

  • By steam

Meaning: Via a steam-powered boat or ship

E.g. The Nineteenth Century innovated navigation by steam.

  • By steam

Meaning: Via a steam train

E.g. This line once took passengers by steam to the frontier.

  • By the way

Meaning: Incidentally

E.g. His mother will be coming for dinner tomorrow, and, by the way, she volunteered to bring dessert.

  • By trade

Meaning: As a profession; professionally

E.g. Although he was a gifted musician, he was a plumber by trade and never played music professionally.

What's Your Reaction?

Confused Confused
Sad Sad
Geeky Geeky
Haha Haha
Wow Wow
Hard Hard
Easy Easy
What? What?

Comments 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

More From: English Prepositions


Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format