Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Use WITH & BY ⚡️English Prepositions | Common Grammar Mistakes

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Hey there, I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!

In this lesson, we'll go over these two prepositions.

Now, if you're a little confused by prepositions

that's totally normal!

Wait a second, I could also say

If you're feeling frustrated with prepositions

you're definitely not alone.

It's a little tricky, right?

Are both of those sentences right?

Does the meaning change?

So both of these sentences are perfectly fine

but let's find out a little more about how to use

these little

but important English prepositions correctly.

Hold tight!

Prepositions are, well,

they're just annoying little buggers!

They're such tiny words,

yet they influence your sentence significantly.

When they're used correctly,

they can make your English sound more advanced.

They can help you to sound more natural

and more fluent when you're speaking

which of course, is exactly what you're aiming for.

But, if they're used incorrectly, well

these errors are quite obvious

to native English speakers.

And these mistakes, they actually reduce the quality

of your English.

And sometimes it can also mean that you're

misunderstood - the meaning's not clear.

So you probably know that there's lots

of prepositions in English.

I could keep going but you get the point.

Actually when you get the chance, you can review

this playlist right here, it's full of my lessons

about prepositions.

One problem that my students have with prepositions

from their own native language

is that they don't translate perfectly into English

so they end up using the wrong preposition

and it becomes a bit of a habit, right?

Which is why it's really important

to study and practise prepositions

in context, so using books,

blog posts and other texts.

They're really great places to really try and understand

English prepositions and

see them, how they're used naturally.

In this lesson, I'll go over the prepositions 'with' and 'by'.

So we'll talk about the general rules

and the uses for each of those prepositions.

We'll also talk about how both of them

could be used in the same sentence.

And later on, later in the lesson,

I'll test you on what you've learnt so make sure you

stick around until the end of the lesson

so we can practise a little together, right?

Cool! So let's start with

So, 'with' can actually mean

all of these different things as a preposition.

But let's just start with the first one for now.

You can use 'with' when you're talking about people,

or things being together.

So if you're with someone,

then you're probably in the same place as them.

This means

I was physically in the same place as Jane yesterday

while the accident was happening.

Now this could be people or objects,

so two objects or things that are with each other

are also together.

When I eat a burger

I put mustard on it and I eat the burger

and the mustard together, right?

So 'with' means physically in the same place.

There's one exception though,

this is an informal usage but a very, very common one.

Two people that are together or with each other,

well this can actually mean that they're in a

romantic relationship or they're dating.

So Chris and Jane probably haven't been

physically in the same location since last year,

but they have been together in a relationship.

Now this usage, it's quite contextual,

you kind of need the other information in the sentence

to help you recognise the meaning.

So here's a couple more examples.

So this is that informal use - talking about a relationship

and 'boyfriend' there is the clue that we're talking about,

a romantic relationship.

Now here, this probably isn't talking about

a romantic relationship because

we're looking for Sammy,

we want to know where she is,

where she physically is right now. We're asking

is she with you?

Okay? It's not the romantic meaning.

'With' can also mean having something.

So you can use 'with' to show that something

or someone has something else.

So a person with tattoos is someone who has tattoos.

A dog with a red collar

is a dog who has a red collar.

Okay so 'with' can also mean to use something,

to make or to do something else.

So think about a time when you were doing an action

or you were making something

with the help of

a tool or an object or an ingredient.

It sounds a little confusing.

But let me think of a couple of examples

just to make it a bit easier to understand.

So she used the candles to make the table look nice.

Okay? She's using them as a tool or as a material.

So he uses a pencil while he's doing his homework.

So these three meanings that we've just been through,

they're all quite similar

but small details in a sentence can help you

figure out the meaning of 'with' in that sentence.

So I want to give you a few examples to help you

compare these three different uses of 'with', okay?

So here I'm talking about using basil to cook.

It's an important ingredient or tool, I guess,

that I use to make this specific recipe.

But I could also say in general

that I like pasta sauce with basil.

Okay? So I'm not making the pasta sauce here,

I'm not using basil.

I'm just speaking about how I like pasta

or pasta sauce that has basil in it,

that contains basil.

But if I went to a restaurant, the waitress might ask

So she's asking if

if I want the pasta and the basil sauce together.

So if I say yes,

I'm going to get both of those things together

on my plate, right?

Does that make sense?

Okay so there are two more ways that you can use

the preposition 'with'

though these ones are a little

less common than the last three.

But you can use 'with'

to show the feeling behind an action.

So to say that you're doing an action

with a certain feeling.

So the person who's writing that message

they want to show or explain that they're feeling sad

as they are doing the action of writing the message.


So we can use 'with' to explain

how an action - the emotion behind an action.

Now lastly,

if someone is with you,

they agree with you, they're on your side.

So imagine that everyone at work

is in the middle of a big discussion.

Everyone has different opinions, right?

But you agree with Matt, so you can say:

When you say that you are

letting everyone know that you

agree with Matt.

You have the same opinions as Matt, right?

Now we also talked about this same use

in this video.

This is the video about the prepositions, 'for' and 'by'.

So you can use 'for' to express

a similar idea, to agree or support someone.

But 'with' is usually used to say that you

support a person and their opinion.

And 'for' is usually used to say that you support an idea.

So I would say:

We both agree in free healthcare for everyone.

Now compare that to

Okay? There's a difference.

Now interestingly, this expression

'to stand by someone'

has a very similar meaning, it's a similar idea.

It's really nice when someone stands by you, right?

But this is an important expression to keep in mind

because the meaning is very similar

to what we've just been talking about

but the preposition is different.

Right? So you just need to take a note of it.

Right, so we've been over

all of the uses of 'with' as a preposition.

But before we move on, I want you to

pause for a moment and write a few sentences

in the comments below

to practise using what you've learned just now, okay?

And I'll try and check them and

make sure I give you some feedback,

make sure that you're using them correctly.

Down there!

All right, let's check out the preposition 'by' now.

Now it can be used to talk about general proximity.

So to show that someone is near

or close to something else.

And it usually means that

that thing is right beside it

or to the side of something else.

Where did you park the car?


So that means I parked near the supermarket.

My car is really close to the supermarket.

It's probably right next to it.

So this is easy enough, right?


there's a teeny weeny thing that you need

to remember here.

When 'by' is used with a verb that shows movement,

it describes the movement past

a person or a place or a thing.

So 'by' with a movement verb shows us

that something is moving past another thing.

So here, 'walk' is a verb that shows movement, right?

So I walked past your office,

I walked by your office.

Now we also use 'by' to set a time limit.

So when 'by' is used with time, it means

not later than a certain time.

I can leave before seven thirty,

or exactly at seven thirty

but I can't leave later than seven thirty.

If I leave later,

well, I'll be late for work.

Have your parents ever said that to you?

So in this lesson here, I actually go into more detail

about how we use 'by'

to talk about time.

So if you want to go a little more deeper on that,

click this link here.

We can also use 'by' to show

who or what is doing something

when we're using the passive voice.

So this is the passive voice.

In English, we use the passive voice or the active voice

for different reasons.

Actually I made a lesson on it a few months ago so it's

right here if you are curious about the passive voice.

So this is the passive voice.

The active voice is

So in the first example I'm using the passive voice

to show that the emphasis is on the action,

not the person.

The action is the most important thing in the sentence.

And we use 'by' to know who or what

is doing the action, if it's important.

Now when you want to

explain how an action will be done,

you can also use 'by'.

So you're saying what is your

method for arriving somewhere.

Or getting something done

or doing something.

What is the way that you're going to do it?

In all of those different situations, you can use

'by' to explain how.

Okay? So bike was the method

that I used to get to work.

Another one.

Okay these are the methods to achieve the outcome.

All right, last one

and then we'll practise together, I promise.

We can use 'by' with a reflexive pronoun

to say that you'll do something alone.

Okay or a person is doing something alone.

Now all personal pronouns have a reflexive

form in English, right?

So we have

Right? There's quite a few of them.

But you can use 'by' with a reflexive pronoun

to talk about doing something alone

or without any help from anyone else.

So you would say 'by myself'

That kind of thing.

So that just means

that I don't need you, I can clean up on my own.

Speaking of reflexive pronouns,

let's go back to the preposition 'with' for a moment

because 'with' can also be used with a reflexive pronoun

So remember that 'with'

and a person

means together, right?

So 'with' and a reflexive pronoun, it's kind of like

saying together with oneself, right?

So he was talking to himself, probably just

inside his head, right?

You don't have to speak out loud to have

a conversation with yourself, right?

Cool, so let's look at a few situations

where both 'with' and 'by' can be used correctly

but of course,

it means the meaning changes

and this is where it can get a little confusing, all right?

I want you to take your time here.

So I want you to think about

what's the difference in the meaning here.

Why have we used each of these prepositions

and what do they mean in each of these sentences?

I want you to pause the video for a moment

and write your answer in the comments.

Okay so the first sentence.

It uses 'by' to show who was doing the action,

who filmed the movie. It was Jerry.

But in the second sentence, 'with' tells us

what was used to do the filming

so what kind of equipment was used.

Well it was an underwater camera, right?

Let's try another one.

So pause the video, think about the difference.

Try and explain it in the answers.

And I'll be down there to check soon.

So I hope that you paused and you wrote your answer

because I'm about to tell you it anyway.

So in the first sentence, 'with' shows togetherness.

The lady and the dog are together, it's probably her dog.

But in the second sentence,

'by' tells us the location of the lady. She's near the dog.

It could be her dog but

maybe not, we don't really know.

Now that you know the rules about these prepositions,

you'll be able to read through a few

pages of your favourite English book

and start to recognise these different uses.

Actually, that's a really great way to help you

remember what you learned in this lesson, to actually

start practising,

looking for these prepositions

and trying to understand them.

Now before you go, I've got a few last sentences

to practise with you, okay?

I'm going to give you some sentences

and see if you can choose the correct preposition

to go in the blank space, right?

So I want you to write your answers in the comments

below. I'm going to be down there checking them

straight away after this lesson's live.

And I don't want you to write

just the answer, I want you to tell me why

you've chosen that preposition.

What's the meaning behind it, right?

Here we go!

Is it 'by' or 'with'?

It's 'by' right? Because we've got

a reflexive pronoun here

to talk about doing something alone.

Right? Okay now it's your turn.

What's the preposition?


Here's another one.

So that's together, right?

Fries and your burger together.

Now it is possible to say

'Would you like to order any fries by your burger?'

Sounds a bit weird though. That just means

on the plate, so next to the burger on your plate.

So it's a way less common way of saying that.

It's not completely incorrect but it

certainly doesn't sound right.

So 'with' is the correct option there.

How about this one?


So here, 'by' is telling us that

it's the method that something is done, right?

This one?

We're using 'with' here to say that she has something.

Something. She has thirteen children.

Can you imagine that?

It would be chaos!

Absolute chaos!

Okay, how about this one? We've got two.

Is it 'with' or 'by'? Where does it go?


Together with their parents.


So next to the river.

Last one.

So it's

so we're together and

so that's the method of getting to work.

So how did you go?

I hope that you enjoyed that lesson

especially the practice section at the end

because you need to make sure that you're

using the lessons that you learn here at mmmEnglish.

Like I said,

practise while you read, just grab your favourite book,

English book, or find an article online even,

but then underline every 'with' and 'by' on the page.

These words are so common, I'm sure you'll find

plenty of them.

But what I want you to do is to then

be curious and try to understand or try to work out

why these different prepositions were used.

It will really help your brain to remember this lesson.

Now I would love to keep teaching you

more about prepositions right here.

Or we can switch things up a little bit and maybe

try this lesson instead.

But don't forget to subscribe and show your support

for the mmmEnglish channel

and I will see you

in one of these lessons.

See you there!

The Description of How to Use WITH & BY ⚡️English Prepositions | Common Grammar Mistakes