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  1. #1
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    By which

    Secretion: the process by which liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants.

    Why do we need "by" before "which"?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: By which

    We need it because it wouldn't make sense without it.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  3. #3
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    Re: By which

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertJ View Post
    The sentence is in passive voice. You can't say "The process which liquid substances are produced ------" This doesn't make any sense. You could, however, use "in" instead of "by", but 'by' is better because it indicates that 'process' is the actor and 'liquid substances' are the result of the action.
    What does "which" refer to ?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

  4. #4
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    Re: By which

    Why does the sentence structure like this?
    So, the process by which liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants.
    =
    the process that liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants. ?

    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

  5. #5
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    Re: By which

    And I don't understand, if 'which' refer to 'process' , that mean 'the process by process'?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: By which

    "Secretion: the process by which liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants."
    That isn't a sentence; it's a definition. This is a sentence:
    "Secretion is the process by which liquid
    substances are produced by parts of the body or plants."

    "A bicycle is the vehicle by which I get to work."
    "A bicycle is the vehicle [which] I get to work by."
    "I get to work by bicycle."

    "This is the philosophy by which I live."
    "This is the philosophy [which] I live by."
    "I live by this philosophy."

  7. #7
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    Re: By which

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "Secretion: the process by which liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants."
    That isn't a sentence; it's a definition. This is a sentence:
    "Secretion is the process by which liquid
    substances are produced by parts of the body or plants."

    "A bicycle is the vehicle by which I get to work."
    "A bicycle is the vehicle [which] I get to work by."
    "I get to work by bicycle."

    "This is the philosophy by which I live."
    "This is the philosophy [which] I live by."
    "I live by this philosophy."
    Secretion is the process by which liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants.
    "Which" refer to Secretion?
    "Liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants by secretion"?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: By which

    Well, "which" refers to "process", but "secretion" is the process. So, yes indirectly, it's the same thing. The same occurs in my first example, in which "which" refers to "vehicle", but "vehicle" refers back to "Bicycle".
    Note my use of "in which" in the previous sentence. The principle is same.

    PS: You could leave out "the process by which" and say:
    "By secretion, liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants."
    "Liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants by secretion."
    Last edited by Raymott; 27-Jul-2017 at 14:47.

  9. #9
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    Re: By which

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Well, "which" refers to "process", but "secretion" is the process. So, yes indirectly, it's the same thing. The same occurs in my first example, in which "which" refers to "vehicle", but "vehicle" refers back to "Bicycle".
    Note my use of "in which" in the previous sentence. The principle is same.

    PS: You could leave out "the process by which" and say:
    "By secretion, liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants."
    "Liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants by secretion."
    It's clear now. Thanks! I have another question about why use preposition "by" but not " through" - " through which"?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

  10. #10
    Maybo is offline Senior Member
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    Re: By which

    Secretion is the process that liquid substances are produced by parts of the body or plants.

    Can I replace " by which " with " that" ?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know!

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