7

Sometimes both "using" and "by using" seem to have the same meaning. Am I wrong? For example, compare the sentences below:

  • "On-screen keyboards allow people with mobility impairments to type data using a joystick or a pointing device."
  • "On-screen keyboards allow people with mobility impairments to type data by using a joystick or a pointing device."

Both sentences use "using" for the same purpose, don't they? And their meanings are the same, aren't they?

7

Although it sounds correct and could pass without a glance, if you examine the logic of the sentences, they mean something slightly different.

An on-screen keyboard allows people with mobility impairments to type data using a joystick or a pointing device.

The first sentence states that people with mobility impairments use the joystick and pointing device in order to operate the on-screen keyboard.

An on-screen keyboard allows people with mobility impairments to type data by using a joystick or a pointing device.

By using a joystick or a pointing device, an on-screen keyboard allows people with mobility impairments to type data.

The second sentence states that the on-screen keyboard is the one that uses the joystick or pointing device to allow impaired people to type data.

The difference: In one of them, the people use the joystick in order to control the machine. In the other, the machine uses a joystick so that people can control it. Both of them are true in this case, but they aren't the same.

  • Well, How do you explain these sentences the following? I got rich playing football. I got rich by playing football. Is there any differences as meaning between them? – Hasan Dec 31 '14 at 22:25
  • 2
    The first one, 'I got rich playing football' states that you got rich while you were playing football. It doesn't exactly mean that playing football is the reason you got rich. The second one specifically tells us that the reason why you got rich is due to football. – DaemonOfTheWest Dec 31 '14 at 22:32
  • However, in today's popular culture, they basically mean the same thing. – DaemonOfTheWest Dec 31 '14 at 22:32
  • Sorry, I cannot understand you. What did you mean? – Hasan Dec 31 '14 at 23:24

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