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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    at night/ by night

    Could someone explain to me the difference between "at night" and "by night"?

    Thank you so much in advance!

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    #2

    Re: at night/ by night

    I can't think of a sentence commonly heard in my dialect of English that includes the phrase "by night." All I can think of is "fly-by-night" which is an idiom for a business that cheats people in one area for a time, then moves somewhere else to avoid the law.

    We like to drive at night.

    I only see them at night.

    In these cases, the word at means during the... I don't think that the word by can be substituted here.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: at night/ by night

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    I can't think of a sentence commonly heard in my dialect of English that includes the phrase "by night." All I can think of is "fly-by-night" which is an idiom for a business that cheats people in one area for a time, then moves somewhere else to avoid the law.

    We like to drive at night.

    I only see them at night.

    In these cases, the word at means during the... I don't think that the word by can be substituted here.
    Another case of 'separated by a common language'. These are perfectly OK in Br English:

    'He crossed the desert, sleeping by day and walking by night.'
    'By day he was a popular man-about-town; by night he was a jewel thief.'

    At would be OK there too; I don't think they're interchangeable in all contexts, but I can't think of an example...

    b

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    #4

    Re: at night/ by night

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Another case of 'separated by a common language'. These are perfectly OK in Br English:

    'He crossed the desert, sleeping by day and walking by night.'
    'By day he was a popular man-about-town; by night he was a jewel thief.'

    At would be OK there too; I don't think they're interchangeable in all contexts, but I can't think of an example...

    b
    plz explain the meaning of the sentence that u have written here

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    #5

    Re: at night/ by night

    Quote Originally Posted by rokky86 View Post
    plz explain the meaning of the sentence that u have written here
    I assume you mean the last one. What I mean is that in some cases there is a strong preference for "at" rather than "by" but I can't think of a case where it would bewrong (in British English) to use the one that is less common.

    b

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    #6

    Re: at night/ by night

    Your sentences are fine on this side of the pond, too.

    Where you wouldn't use "by" here is something like "A nocturnal animal is one that is most active at night." or "Vampires come out at night."

    Can you help me think of why we can say "We travelled by night" but not "She only comes out by night"?

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