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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Sentence starting with preposition "by"

    From the book:

    The Manual of Life - Character


    I read the following sentences.


    By parents having access to this knowledge now
    helps them to guide their child in ways that respect the child's individual differences. By understanding children's temperaments and our own helps adults to work with them rather than try to change them.

    My question is... shouldn't there be a subject after the phrase that I have underlined? Though it sounds right as well. What do you all think? I think it is grammatically correct to write:

    By having parents access to this knowledge now, it helps them to guide their child in ways that respect the child's individual differences. By understanding children's temperaments and our own, it helps adults to work with them rather than try to change them.

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    #2

    Re: Sentence starting with preposition "by"

    Neither of those sentences are good. The "by" is wrong. Delete it. The "now" is confusing in the first sentence.

    Do they mean "Parents now having access to this knowledge helps them..." (they now have access) or "Parents having access to this knowledge now helps them..." (now it helps them, maybe it didn't before)?

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Sentence starting with preposition "by"

    Again, it's a blend (or badly thought out 'sentence') to start with. If it starts 'By <verb>-ing' it should continue with a finite verb that has the same subject: 'By having parents who... a child learns to ...'. Having started with an otiose 'By', the writer then assumes there's a subject for the verb 'helps'. You were right in spotting that it needs a subject ( ), but (as SD's rewrite shows) a ready-made subject is already there. As usual, the solution to bad writing is to take stuff out rather than add anything!

    b

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    #4

    Re: Sentence starting with preposition "by"

    "Otiose" is a great word. Thanks!

  3. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: Sentence starting with preposition "by"

    It makes more sense now... yeah, that word 'now' makes it a lot confusing. I totally agree with you.

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