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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:’-”

  • July 14, 2005
  • Posted by m56
  • Filed in Grammar

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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).

mara July 14, 2005, 6:29am

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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.

m56 July 14, 2005, 7:26am

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

Matt July 14, 2005, 7:57am

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Yes     No