I'm sorry for asking what will be such a simple question but I'm not sure exactly how With is used in sentences where that's the first word.

Is that what it took to fall in love with someone? Would it take years of living with Nali to love her? Then so be it. With those thoughts he turned on his heel and... [Nali, Esther Henry]

"Where did Grant go? Shit, he must have left. I wonder if he knows that I'm still alive... That would be rather careless of him to not kill me if he wanted me dead. Hmm..." With those thoughts, the man stood up and walked off. ["God of War" on Zetaboards]

"It has been almost a year since it began, I can not go on like this much longer." With those thoughts he started the day. [Martin Wolf on The Indie Stone]


  • is this ELL ? I don't know – Fattie Sep 11 '14 at 10:21
  • 3
    Related: Starting a sentence with "with" – Andrew Leach Sep 11 '14 at 10:29
  • Sorry if my answer is over-simplified (hence the comment) but it's just a prepositional phrase. You can reposition it as "The man stood up and walked off with those thoughts." or "He started the day with those thoughts". By placing the prepositional phrase first in the sentence, you're giving it closer proximity to the previous sentence that mentioned the thoughts. – Kristina Lopez Sep 11 '14 at 18:08

The prototypical sense of 'with' is 'physically accompanied by':

the man just over there with a green coat

She turned up with her husband.

Slightly more metaphorical usages are common:

The man with a green coat seems to have left it at home tonight.

the boy with the scar

the boy with measles

the boy with an attitude problem

Here, 'with' has the extended senses of 'owning', 'characterised by', 'suffering from'. 'Having' works in some cases.

A more metaphorical usage is to show simultaneous or near-simultaneous consecutive actions:

He left with a wave. (He left, waving.)

With those thoughts he started the day. (Right from the start of the day, he was thinking ...)

With those thoughts he turned on his heel and ... (Having completed this train of thought or Still thinking about this, he turned ...)


With these thoughts on his mind he turned ... This is the normal use of "with". You might simplify and say: These were his thoughts and at once he turned ...

  • I'd say the prototypical sense is 'physically accompanied by': the man with a dog / he came with his mother. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 11 '14 at 13:49
  • In my view a very narrow sector of the use of with. Someone can write with a fountain pen. I wouldn't explain this "instrumental use" as "physically accompanied by". – rogermue Sep 11 '14 at 13:59
  • I said 'prototypical' sense. If you're going to explain prepositional usage at all adequately, you have to start there. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 11 '14 at 14:05

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