Should I say:

I want to filter users list by names.

OR :

I want to filter users list with names ??

  • Use by. With suggests the agent by which you will filter (or alternatively, the type of list you want to filter), rather than the criterion.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 11:40
  • Note that you filter by name, not names - unless each user has multiple names. As @Lawrence indicates, a list with names probably indicates that names are in the list, not that you want to use name as a criterion to filter the list.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


To choose either 'by' or 'with', you need to see if the phrase/word that comes next indicates a method or an instrument. If you want to show a method, you use by. If it's an instrument with which the activity was done, you use with:

  • I opened the bottle by removing the cap

  • I opened the bottle with a corkscrew

  • I hit him by using a bat (the method is using something)

  • I hit him with a bat

In your case, 'names' are a method used for filtering users list, not an instrument. So, you have to use 'by'. See the examples below:

I want to filter the users list by names

I want to filter the users list with a software that filters user lists by name

  • Not comprehensive. The clothing was sorted by John (volitional agent). The difficulty comes with: The sweets are sorted into different colours by this new machine (non-volitional agent?). Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 13:21

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