The word "by" is a preposition that is used when something is close in distance:
Look at the picture below:
There’s a man in uniform standing by the staircase.
Where is he? He’s by the staircase. He’s near the staircase. Use the word "by" as a preposition to describe proximity (closeness). Here are some more examples:
This page has many more examples if you click on the link.
We also use "by" when making a sentence in the passive voice. Here are some examples:
You’ll often hear the word "by" at the end of a sentence or a question:
"By" is commonly used with reflexive pronouns. When you combine "by" and "myself," "yourself," "himself," etc., it means that something is done alone or without help:
You can also use the word "by" when talking about the author of a piece of writing or the group that composed a piece of music:
Click here to find more words to study.
First published December 4, 2011
Updated December 26, 2018