English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there any difference between there was an increase of 2% and “there was an increase by 2%”?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The former sounds better to me. The preposition "by" would be more appropriate if you had used "increase" as a verb instead of a noun. (i.e., "It increased by 2%" as opposed to "There was an increase of 2%.")

share|improve this answer

"Increase" is being used as a verb in the phrase "increase by 2%". This makes the second sentence incorrect (because it already has the verb "is").

"Increase" is being used as a noun in the phrase "increase of 2%", and this makes sense because it is being used as a direct object in the first sentence.

share|improve this answer

In your example, "increase" is a noun. So here are your options (in bold):

There can be an increase:

(i) of a certain amount

(ii) of something that has grown larger

(iii) in something used a means of measurement, e.g. size, temperature, etc.

(iv) in something being measured statistically

(v) from a lower amount to a higher amount

(vi) over or on an earlier amount or the period when that earlier amount was calculated

(c) A Valency Dictionary of English (2004)

As you can see, *an increase by is not idiomatic English ("unnatural for a normal Englishman to say or write").

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


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.