I've been searching Google but the corpus does not really help this time. Are all the examples below correct and idiomatic? I will appreciate it if you support your answers with rules and not just native speaker intuitions:

The best way to aquire knowledge is reading.

The best way to acquire knowledge is to read.

The best way to acquire knowledge is by reading.

1 Answer 1


They all seem fine to me and have the same meaning, though the first example where "by" has been omitted is perhaps less common than your third example where it is included.

Structurally, your first two examples have the participle and infinitive clauses as predicative complements in a reversible specifying type of construction (cf. Reading / To read is the best way to acquire knowledge) .

Your third example is slightly different by virtue of the predicative element being complement of the preposition "by" instead of being related directly to the verb as in the others. But it's still a predicative (more precisely a predicative oblique) in that it relates to a predicand (i.e. the subject NP The best way ....)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.