"By" or "In" + gerund?

4

1

Should I say:

  1. I've made a huge mistake by accepting this offer
  2. I've made a huge mistake in accepting this offer

Vadi

Posted 2016-02-06T13:40:02.547

Reputation: 307

2

Google Books has about four times as many instances of *made a mistake in agreeing to* as *made a mistake by agreeing to*, but that doesn't imply either is "right" or "wrong". It's just a stylistic choice, with no real semantic implications.

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-02-06T14:07:05.583

1...but note that *You are mistaken by thinking that* is a complete no-no. In that context, I think only *You are mistaken in thinking that* would be idiomatically acceptable. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-02-06T14:09:04.637

Answers

1

I have made a huge mistake by accepting this offer.

I have made a huge mistake in accepting this offer.

I think there's no difference in meaning between these sentences.

You usually use the structure mistake + in + -ing form. Even you can drop the preposition 'in' that's optional.

I have made a huge mistake accepting this offer.

It'll also be grammatical if you say:

I made the huge mistake of accepting this offer.

As for the use of the preposition "by", though not as common as in, it's also correct in the sentence; we use it for stating the way we do something.

Khan

Posted 2016-02-06T13:40:02.547

Reputation: 26 261

0

Both of these choices are perfectly correct. It is immaterial whether you choose by or in here, since the meaning really does change depending on your choice.

I suppose you could argue that the first choice "by" has a nuanced and very slight implication of a more passive acceptance, and the "in" has a nuanced and very slight implication of a more active acceptance, but, that arguement is really splitting hairs.

The choice between by and in here is entirely a personal choice based on the sound of the sentence, and not its meaning. I hear both usages on a regular basis in my everyday life.

Msfolly

Posted 2016-02-06T13:40:02.547

Reputation: 608