Grammar Patterns

V n by n

Structure information

The noun group following the verb is the Object, and the prepositional phrase is an Adjunct. This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed by n. Though the prepositional phrase in this structure usually comes after the noun group,it sometimes comes before it, especially when the noun group is a long one.
Inflation has multiplied by about 15 the amount of money a family needs to live on.
There are four phrasal verbs with this structure, finish off, finish up, start off and start out. The active patterns are V n P by n/-ing and V P n by -ing. The Object comes either between the verb and the particle, or after the particle. If the Object comes after the particle, it cannot be a personal pronoun. You say
He started it off by greeting us all
or
He started off the party by greeting us all
but you do not say He started off it by greeting us all.

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