Submitted by m56  •  July 14, 2005

Using prepositions “by” and “with”.

Can anyone tell me why “by” and not “with” was used in the following?

“In the course of his narrative he refreshes himself by a draught from the drinking-horn into which meanwhile Hagen has pressed the juice of an herb.”

“or succeedeth in smuggling in a drink, or after much importuning, the janitor is induced to cool the coppers by a draught from the spigot that sizzes and adds to the thirst that is not quenched;”

“With these preliminary remarks, and after wetting his whistle by a draught from a small pocket flask, he made the echoes of Kenmuir ring with the following, which he sung to the old Gaelic air, ‘I am asleep, do not waken me:’-”

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To me, the passive example (the second one) sounds more correct than the active ones.

That is, I'd say "I refreshed myself with a lemonade" and "I wet my whistle with a lemonade"; but "I was refreshed by a lemonade."

I wonder if the "by" is idiomatic in the UK but not in the US (I'm in the US).

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mara

Thanks for the reply.

I imagine it is archaic usage and maybe Scottish English at that.

Here's an example from Arthur Conan Doyle.

"As he journeyed he bit into a crust which remained from his Beaulieu bread, and he washed it down by a draught from a woodland stream."

From, The White Company, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Yeah, I think it's just old-timey usage.

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