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English Grammar


Set phrases or groups of words introduced with the preposition 'by'.

Prepositional phrases are set phrases or groups of words introduced by a preposition.

Below are some examples of commonly-used propositional phrases with 'BY', with their meaning and a sentence showing how they are used.

Prepositional phrase Meaning Example
By accident Unintentionally; by chance I found my ring by accident when tidying the wardrobe.
By all accounts According to what people say I've made enquiries, and by all accounts this is the best hotel in the area.
By all means Of course;  certainly If you'd like a copy you may have one by all means.
By and by After a short while; eventually You will get used to the lifestyle by and by.
By and large In general; on the whole By and large our trip was very enjoyable.
By appointment You must arrange a time  beforehand In the off-season you can visit the castle by appointment.
By chance Unintentionally; without plan or intent He met her by chance in a bookshop.
By degrees Gradually; little by little She adapted to her new environment by degrees.
By hand By a person, not a machine The dresses and jackets are embroidered by hand.
By heart By memorisation At school we had to learn multiplication tables by heart.
By invitation (only) Only possible if you receive an invitation. It's strictly private. Membership is by invitation only.
By law A rule that is legally imposed. Restaurants are required by law to display their prices outside.
By mistake Not deliberately; in error. The letter was sent by mistake to the wrong address.
By nature Inborn or hereditary characteristics She is optimistic by nature. She always sees the bright side of things.
By no means Not at all It is by no means easy to adapt to a new country.
By now Before this moment Dad's getting worried. Lucy should be home by now.

More Prepositional Phrases: 

See also: Prepositions

Try these online exercises:  at-on-in at-for-from-in into-onto-off-over-up

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