0

The expression "to talk by the phone" is correct and I'm pretty sure if you use "through" instead of "by" it makes sense as well, but what about this expression: •You never know what's gonna come THROUGH that door•

Could I use "by" in the expression (or sentence) from above? I know the word "by" has a lot of meanings but in this case, to me, it means "by the means of" so is this correct? I know it may not be that common but could it still be considered as correct?

It's like saying: Travel by car or Travel through car, to me both of these are ok but the first one is more common

  • I talk on the phone, not by and not through. I never travel through a car - at least I try not to, as that could be very painful, if not fatal. And finally, the phrase come by has a very specific meaning (or meanings) - see: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/come+by – michael.hor257k Dec 29 '18 at 0:02
  • You've misunderstood the way these prepositions are used: "to talk by the phone" isn't correct, as by in that context would be understood as next to, and using through would make no sense at all. – Chappo Dec 29 '18 at 0:06
  • I'm flagging this as off-topic ("belongs on ELL"). JP, you may not be aware that our other site English Language Learners is the best place to look for answers on English questions that a fluent speaker would find trivial. If you have a question for ELL, be sure to read their guidance on what you can ask. :-) – Chappo Dec 29 '18 at 0:08
  • +1 I've read and heard talk through the phone on many occasions. While it's not common, I think it's a mistake to say that it's wrong. (It's implied—or it used to be—that you mean you are talking through a phone line to the person at the other end.) Also, you could say that you talk by phone (no article) rather than, perhaps, talk by megaphone or talk by speech synthesis. It would be unusual—but not incorrect. An analysis of this is a lot more complex that any of the comments here (including my own)—and it certainly doesn't deserve to be punted to ELL since it's far from "trivial." – Jason Bassford Dec 29 '18 at 16:44
  • And just to clarify. I agree with the background of your question. Is your question actually if it's okay to say, You never know what's gonna come BY that door? As in, somebody travelled by door? If so, you should clarify that in the question itself. I can see no reason why it would be completely unacceptable. But even if technically along the same lines as the rest of your analysis, nobody would ever actually use such an expression. Unless they were magic doors. – Jason Bassford Dec 29 '18 at 16:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.