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    #1

    because they were infected by/with a disease

    "Thousands of chickens were slaughtered because they were infected by a disease." (from Advanced Vocabulary Builder for English Exams of LiveABC)
    Is "were infected by" used correctly? I think the preposition is wrongly used; it should be "with". Am I right? Thanks!

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    Both are okay, but I agree with you. I would have said "with," too.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    Infected by a disease is wrong. Nobody would misunderstand it, but the phrase should be infected with​ a disease.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    I checked COCA and the BNC and both have quite a few examples of infected by:

    Coca:
    Infected with: 1915
    Infected by: 404

    BNC:
    Infected with: 290
    Infected by: 93

    And Ngrams shows a fairly constant presence for infected by.

    There are some false positives in the results - infected by accident - but the majority seem OK. I'd use with, but I wouldn't say that by is wrong.

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    #5

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I checked COCA and the BNC and both have quite a few examples of infected by:
    That surprised me, but this Ngram confirmed that 'infected by a disease' is less unacceptable than I had thought. I didn't doubt COCA and the BNC, but my surprise caused me to see what I could find elsewhere. fraze.it.com has three citations for 'by' and six for 'with'.
    Last edited by Piscean; 27-Apr-2016 at 19:56. Reason: Punctuation corrected

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    #6

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    GoesStation is right that infected by is wrong, based on a misuse of the verb infect.

    One chicken may infect another with a disease. The second chicken is then infected with a disease (by the first chicken.)

    The disease doesn't infect the chickens, so the chickens are not infected by the disease.

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    #7

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    I haven't had the time to look at instances of infected by cited upthread, but I suspect most of them are valid uses like the one you propose. A person can be infected with the chickenpox virus, or infected by a person with chickenpox, but saying that someone was infected by​ chickenpox would be careless writing.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    What difference do Ngram data make? They won't tell you what is correct or acceptable -- just the instances of use. However, Ngrams are interesting in that they tell you how many people are right/wrong!

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    #9

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    GoesStation is right that infected by is wrong, based on a misuse of the verb infect.

    One chicken may infect another with a disease. The second chicken is then infected with a disease (by the first chicken.)

    The disease doesn't infect the chickens, so the chickens are not infected by the disease.
    That makes sense to me!

    Z, I think that's your answer.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #10

    Re: because they were infected by/with a disease

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    GoesStation is right that infected by is wrong, based on a misuse of the verb infect.

    One chicken may infect another with a disease. The second chicken is then infected with a disease (by the first chicken.)

    The disease doesn't infect the chickens, so the chickens are not infected by the disease.
    Yes! You have a good point. Thank you!

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