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What is the correct preposition to be used in the blank?

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    Perhaps you should try posting these on the English Language Learner's Stack Exchange.
    – David M
    Feb 24, 2014 at 6:43

1 Answer 1

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'Through,' 'by,' or 'with.' 'Through' is the most appropriate, 'with' the least.

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  • Perhaps. But why?
    – Kris
    Feb 24, 2014 at 6:36
  • Through is the original form of the idiom. Things done forcefully are done "through force" with 'sheer' being a modifier of force. These days, 'by' is more standard since it's the catch-all for "how you do things" - you do them "BY doing X." The third option is more answering the question "done with what tool?" - "WITH x". But the origin of the phrase was in a time when through was used more, so as an idiom it retains that phrasing despite the evolution of language in general.
    – Elijah
    Feb 24, 2014 at 6:57
  • english.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer HTH.
    – Kris
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:33

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