In the sentence like: she shielded herself from disquiet by mocking arrogance.

What's correct? By or with? Is there any difference if they both are acceptable?

  • 3
    That's an interesting example. Simplistically, use with with noun phrases and by with verb phrases: e.g. she shielded herself from arrows with a door / by closing the door. However, your example seems to work (taking mocking arrogance to be a noun phrase denoting a type of arrogance, as opposed to a verb phrase that indicates what she was mocking). I think by allows both NP/VP interpretations (and seems more 'literary' with the NP interpretation) while with allows only the NP interpretation.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 15, 2017 at 15:57
  • Wow, Lawrence; I wish I'd noticed that long ago. Thanks. Dec 16, 2017 at 22:19


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