Greetings from sunny and warm New York City. It’s such a nice day today. If you walk along Madison Avenue, you can see a lot of people with smiles walking around and enjoying the sunshine. Well, for today’s free English grammar lesson, we are going to look at the preposition with. A lot of people have written to tell me that they have problems with this preposition, so I hope that today I can make it a bit clearer for the Happy English fans.
We use with when we talk about how something is done. Of course, we can also use by to talk about how something is done. However, by is used to focus on the action performed, whereas with is used to focus on the tool, equipment, or manner used. Take a look at how I use with and by in the following sentences:
- I fixed the door with a hammer and a small screwdriver.
- I fixed the door by hitting it with a hammer.
- Jack caught a big fish with a small fishing pole.
- Jack caught a big fish by using a small fishing pole.
- She explained her opinion with a refined, elegant voice.
- She explained her opinion by speaking elegantly.
We also use with when we talk about a person’s emotions and moods
- I was very angry with her.
- Jack said he is in love with Jane.
- The fans were clapping and screaming with excitement when the singer took the stage.
- The boss said he was satisfied with the results of the last quarter.
We also use with to talk about possession, and similarly, physical appearance:
- Jack is the man with the authority, so you need to ask him for permission to change the policy.
- The man with the grey suit is the CEO of the company.
- The woman sitting on the sofa with the blonde hair and blue eyes is Jack’s sister.
Finally, with can mean together or against, depending on the verb used with such meanings.
- Bobby played with his cousins at the family reunion.
- I spent time with my sister last night.
- Jack argued with his boss for half an hour, but the boss didn’t give in.
- After years of fighting with her husband, Jane separated from him.
Well, I think that is all I can think of for using with. If you have another idea, let me know. Next, it’s your turn. How about trying to write an original sentence using with and one of the patterns I just explained. Use the comment box below!
If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them.
Thanks for studying today!