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America’s defence secretary ended his short Asian tour today in Tokyo by trying to calm a nervous ally.

Is it like "go to school by bus", using this method? But it is more like after finishing the job, he ended the tour.

  • It means that the comma should not be there. – Hot Licks May 23 at 0:18
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America’s defence secretary ended his short Asian tour today in Tokyo, by trying to calm a nervous ally.

'By' is used here more in the sense of 'with' (with an attempt to calm the allies) than in the sense of 'through the medium of'.

If you google "ended his * by", you'll find expressions with the meaning you have in mind, i.e. through the medium of, e.g.:

you can end your tenancy by moving out.

but also expressions using 'by' in the sense of 'with':

ends his video by requesting...

or

ends his paper by suggesting..

So far I have found a lot of samples corresponding to the usage in your expression but not a dictionary definition that clearly focusses on this aspect. Perhaps someone with the OED can help out.


As Edwin Ashworth says in his comment, both uses of 'ended by' could be understood as 'ended in the following way:...'

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    thank you very much – wtdark May 18 at 15:56
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    Yes; it seems confined to ended / finished / concluded etc ... by -ing .... It answers 'How did X end their ...? but [speaking of this sense of 'by'] asks for a final action often not related to what seemed the planned ending. '... in the following way: they ...' is a fair paraphrase, as it also allows for both a predictable / planned way to end and a serendipitous departure from what has gone before. – Edwin Ashworth May 22 at 18:48

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