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I often meet the use of another way phrase both with and without the in preposition.

Both

  1. Let me phrase it in another way.

  2. I will put it in another way.

  3. He is used to building roads in another way.

and

  1. Let me phrase it another way.

  2. I will put it another way.

  3. He is used to building roads another way.

sound reasonable to me and I cannot clearly see any difference in the meaning. Am I wrong? May be there are better examples which do show some difference?

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    Way can take the preposition in when used as a manner phrase; or the in can be omitted. It's a situation rather like (at) home, (in) school, etc. It works the same with any modifier; this doesn't have anything to do with another) -- _Put it (in) this way, not (in) that way. Jan 17, 2017 at 15:49
  • @JohnLawler Thanks, noted. What would you say about the given answer? I mean your this doesn't have anything to do with "another" vs interchangeable when "another way" is being used as adverb. Jan 18, 2017 at 9:39
  • Manner phrases are a kind of adverbial phrase. It's the manner part that's significant, not the adverb part; "adverb" adds very little information, since different adverbs have different syntax. Jan 18, 2017 at 16:05
  • @JohnLawler Got it, and the former answer author seems to agree. May be you compose an answer? Jan 18, 2017 at 17:09
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    Am I the only one who went straight to He put it in, another way. :) Feb 24, 2017 at 11:51

4 Answers 4

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A predicate needs its argument to complete the meaning. An object is one as such (direct argument); the preposition phrase is another (oblique argument) but very much essential to the meaning of the sentence. The preposition is the argument marker.

Not going into pedantic details, we can say this much that in both sets of examples WAY is used all along as a noun. We don't find fault with the first set of examples — IN ANOTHER WAY — is an Adverb Prepositional Phrase (preposition in the beginning, its object at the end and a modifier in between; in - another - way). It fulfills oblique argument in the first set of three.

What about the rest? WAY is not an adverb here. WAY or for that matter ANOTHER WAY is an adverbial objective (they create an object like illusion though not acted upon) or adverbial noun i.e., nouns used as adverb:

He works mornings and nights.

Mornings and nights occupy the position earmarked for an object. But a word of caution: adverbial nouns modify verbs and adjectives and they are not used to describe manners.

However, in the first two of the remaining set of three another way functions as adverbial objective – localising the functionality of the verbs. But in the last sentence we want another way to function as an adverbial objective assigning the role to describe manners which is contrary to its nature. The last sentence flouts basic rules of semantics and is wrong as such:

He is used to building roads another way.

In this example sentence the participle object phrase building roads can be classified as an object of another​ object roads usurping (leaving no room for) adverbial objective (yet another noun — another way). So we have:

  • Building (noun equivalent participle)

  • Roads (noun)

  • Another way (noun)

Without a relationship word (preposition) another way can not be knit in the sentence coherently or logically. However, I have a sort of inner prompting that says that if roads be replaced by any pronoun (it/this/one) than another way may be induced in the sentence without a preposition but the rule underlying is beyond my knowledge.

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    Thank you for the constructive and thorough explanation. For me and I assume for any non native English speaker it is a bit hard to chew but with due effort I get the idea. Mar 15, 2017 at 11:49
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I would suggest that

  1. "He is used to building roads another way." is only incorrect on account of the semantic link between a road and a way.
  2. "He is used to cutting grass another way." would be fine.
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    Ambiguity doesn't make a sentence incorrect.
    – ProkhorZ
    Mar 9, 2017 at 13:19
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The sentences sound good to me, with or without the preposition "in." But, formal writing would probably require the preposition in question.

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  • Bravo on your first answer here. If you could flesh it out with a source that the requestor can look into, it would serve as a fuller response to help others. A personal vote such as 'sounds good to me' otherwise fits into Comments as a passing opinion, with all due respect. Mar 14, 2017 at 21:41
  • By saying "sounds good to me," I meant that I consider both uses correct, although I may lean toward one or the other, depending on the context and circumstances. You can say that is an opinion. Thanks for prodding me for reason. Let me give it a try. I think what have led me to my standing opinion are my encounters with the two uses while living in an English-speaking country and Google polls. For those who have not done that before, just remember to enter your phase enclosed in quotation marks in Google Search. The number of search results can be used as an indication how common a phrase is.
    – Yun
    Mar 14, 2017 at 22:51
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These are merely examples of unneeded prepositions. We meet them daily, such as Rachel Ray's dozen or so each day: "Mix it in", "Stir it up", "Pour it out", "Flip it over". She will say all of these phrases for any mixture that needs cooking on a flat grill or skillet. Remove every preposition, and the meaning does not change.

Sometimes the preposition does add to the meaning, such as "He despised the gun in his hand, so he threw it ___." Was that up, down, into the sea, or out the window?

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