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    #1

    Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Hi, everyone.

    I read the following sentence a moment ago. I searched it on Bing.com, looked it up in my dictionaries and referred to my Practical English Usage. All efforts were in vain. I would want to know if you have seen 'cook by' used together like this?

    For example, people have for many years been using the reflected heat of the sun to cook by.

    Many thanks

    Richard
     


  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    It's not 'cook by' as such. It's doing something, in this case cooking, by the heat of the sun.

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    #3

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Is this an inverted sentence of some sort? I don't understand how the structure works, if it is a correct usage.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    Is this an inverted sentence of some sort? I don't understand how the structure works, if it is a correct usage.
    Yes, it's correct. "to cook by" means "by which to cook".

    PS: "I have three children to cook for" - "for whom to cook".
    "I have these ingredients to cook with" - "with which to cook", etc.

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    #5

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Thank you, Raymott.

    I searched 'cook by' at(? or on?) the British Corpus. There were only five results. Does this mean the sentence I provided could manage without 'by'? And may be it's more common to do so?

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    Thank you, Raymott.

    I searched 'cook by' at(? or on?) [probably 'on'] the British Corpus. There were only five results. Does this mean the sentence I provided could manage without 'by'? And maybe it's more common to do so?
    No, it doesn't mean that. It never means that, even if you turned up no results. It just means that the writers who were sampled didn't have use for that phrase. Purely by coincidence, you can say "I use the sun to cook", but you can't say "I have three children to cook" - unless you mean that you don't have to cook because you have three children who can do it.

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    #7

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    I searched 'cook by' at(? or on?) the British Corpus.
    You can also use www.fraze.it to search phrases. There you are likely to find additional sources when you are not sure about the results obtained in previous searches.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "I have three children to cook"
    Hello.
    I had read the sentence wrongly until the " - unless you mean [...]" part.
    I had thought the 'three children' is the object of the verb 'cook'.
    (It looks like the same construction as "I have three books to read." )

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    #9

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Hello.
    I had read the sentence wrongly until the " - unless you mean [...]" part.
    You were meant to read it that way until you got to the " - unless you [...] part". That was not reading it wrongly in this case. It was reading it in one possible way that it could be read, and you'd probably naturally read it that way following the 'sun' example.
    I had thought the 'three children' is the object of the verb 'cook'.
    Indeed. That was the intention. And that's why I wrote "You can't say that".

    (It looks like the same construction as "I have three books to read." )
    Yes, that is one way of interpreting it.
    It can mean "I have three children that I must cook", or "I have three children who can cook for me." That was my point.
    "I have three students to help" can mean "I have three students that I must help", or "I have three students who can help me". It would usually mean the former - but it doesn't have to.

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    #10

    Re: Does 'cook by' exist as a phrase?

    You answer is very clear, Raymott. Now I know the difference it will make if by is taken away here. Thank you very much.

    May I ask a further question?

    At least it seems to me that the meaning of cook with is similar to that of cook by, in the sense that sth is cooked through the means of sth, as, I believe, proved by the following sentence I found on the Brirish National Corpus:

    All aluminium saucepans including those from Buckingham Palace here collected in July nineteen forty but unfortunately it was not of the right grade and so housewives then suffered for the rest of the war and having to cook with inferior pans.

    I want to know whether I can come to the conclusion that with can be used to replace by in the original sentence, after I went through all the processes.

    I am trying to work out a way of finding the answer by myself, so in the future the same methodology would be used in my study, without putting more repeating work to the kind teachers here.

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