Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In a paper I read, the authors selected various images by color, and I wondered if what they did wouldn’t be better expressed by according to color. But the longer I thought about it, the less sure I was. Maybe someone here can help my muddled brain.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Since by has a sense "according to", the meaning is the same.

The second is longer, and more cumbersome. That's not a difference in meaning, but it is a practical reason to favour the first.

Now, if a given use of by in this sense was open to misinterpretation to any of the other senses of by, that would be a reason to favour the latter. But since that seems unlikely, I'd go for the first.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks - it helps to sound out these things at times! –  always curious Feb 4 '13 at 12:32
    
Select or sort by colour... Sounds fine to me –  mplungjan Feb 4 '13 at 12:43
    
@alwayscurious the only problem being that sometimes after doing a lot of sounding out, it can get to the point where nothing sounds normal! –  Jon Hanna Feb 4 '13 at 17:09
    
@Jon Hanna: Indeed! That's why I find this site so useful... Thank you, also for your many other comments here. –  always curious Feb 6 '13 at 6:40

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.