I am unsure if I can use this two forms interchangeably (simplified sentences):
- We did that, hence using the object is the only way.
- We did that, hence the use of the object is the only way.
What would you prefer?
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Edit: The short answer is that yes, they are interchangeable. As to preference, I don't really want to give my preference without having a reason for it.
So, the main thing that's happening here is that in the first instance, using is a verb representing an action, which is expected.
In the second, the noun "the use" is representing an action, which means that other things happen - its arguments as a verb become arguments as a noun, for instance - but essentially, but turning the action into a noun, you can refer to it later as "it".
I'd generally use the second, but I tend to write in more formal or academic registers. It really depends on your audience.
How about, I saw the elephant using my binoculars versus I saw the elephant through the use of my binoculars? The first sentence leads to ambiguity regarding just who is using the binoculars. The second (which I admit could be rewritten for greater clarity) is better at avoiding ambiguity regarding the actor. I have seen numerous sentences in which placement of the word "using" immediately following a noun causes just such ambiguity as in the first sentence. In some cases, introduction of extra verbiage such as "through the use of" or "by using" helps. In other cases, it is best to rewrite to avoid confusion and obtain a clearer, more concise sentence.