English for Intermediate Students - CEFR B2 - Lesson 18 of 25

By + Gerund Clauses

Read and listen to four conversations using the grammar.

Conversation 1

Student: Ms. Wilson, how can I get a good grade on this paper?
Teacher: First, you need to write a good outline.
Student: OK, I think I can do that.
Teacher: By doing that, you will give the paper structure.
Student: OK, what else?
Teacher: You should support your ideas by adding supporting data.
Student: How do I do that?
Teacher: You can do that by searching for related articles online.
Student: OK, that should be easy enough.
Teacher: Also, read the rubric. By familiarizing yourself with the details, you will know what to do.
Student: OK, thanks for your help.

Conversation 2

Man: Hey, what are you reading?
Woman: I'm reading how cows contribute to climate change.
Man: Cows! How do they do that?
Woman: By releasing methane gas into the environment.
Man: But, they're cows! I don't see how they can do that.
Woman: They release gas by burping. It says cows burp a lot.
Man: By burping? How strange.
Woman: It also says that farmers cause damage by cutting down trees to make farmland.
Man: Yes, I've heard about that. Cutting down trees does damage by reducing how much trees can absorb CO2.
Woman: Yes, and deforestation is also a problem by causing soil erosion.
Man: So, what can we do about it?
Woman: I suppose that we could help by eating less beef.
Man: Yeah, or we could help by buying meat from local organic farms.
Woman: Sounds good. Time to put our best foot forward.
Man: Yes, and to put our money where our mouth is, literally.

Conversation 3

Man: So, what are you doing?
Woman: I'm studying Japanese by watching videos on Netflix.
Man: That's interesting, but it must be difficult.
Woman: It is, but I can follow along by reading the captions.
Man: Oh, do you mean the English subtitles?
Woman: No, the captions. I hear it and read the Japanese text simultaneously. By doing so, I can catch a lot.
Man: That sounds like a good strategy. I should try that to learn French.
Woman: Oh, you are learning French?
Man: Yes, but just by using some vocabulary apps on my phone.
Woman: Well, you might learn more by checking out some videos online. There's lots on YouTube.
Man: Or by using your Netflix account.
Woman: Not a chance. Nice try though.
Man: Well, no one ever got anything by not asking.
Woman: True. I'll give you that.

Conversation 4

Woman: How do you like your food?
Man: It's good, but I'm not used to eating vegetarian food.
Woman: You should become vegetarian. There are many health benefits by doing so.
Man: Yes, that's true, but I love eating meat. It tastes so good.
Woman: I understand, but by changing your diet, you can explore lots of new dishes.
Man: Yeah, I know, but I work out a lot. And I am afraid that by giving up meat, I'll lose lots of key nutrients.
Woman: I assume you are referring to protein? Well, just by eating beans and nuts you can get all the protein you need.
Man: Perhaps, but I also worry about missing out at social gatherings, like barbecues, picnics and parties.
Woman: Yes, I see your point, but by being a vegetarian, you open yourself to new social situations.
Man: Yeah, I guess you're right. I will give it some thought.
Woman: Take your time. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say.

By + Gerund

Point 1: The pattern ‘by + gerund’ shows a conditional or cause-and-effect relationship.
  1. By walking to work, you can lose weight and save money.
  2. By using this app, you can learn vocabulary anytime, anywhere.
  3. I learn Spanish by watching Mexican TV dramas.
  4. She made a lot of enemies by spreading rumors about people.
Point 2: This pattern can have a similar meaning to ‘if’ in conditional statement.
  1. If you use this coupon, you can save money.
    By using this coupon, you can save money.
  2. If you take the course, you can learn all about software design.
    By taking the course, you can learn all about software design.
Point 3: This pattern also has a similar meaning to the phrase ‘as a result of’.
  1. I lost a lot of weight as a result of exercising two hours a day.
  2. I lost a lot of weight by exercising two hours a day.
  3. We can help the environment as a result of eating less meat.
  4. We can help the environment by eating less meat.
Point 4: This pattern can also take a negative form.
  1. I learned a lot by not talking and just listening.
  2. By not trying, you are wasting a great opportunity.
  3. By not speaking up, you are encouraging his bad behavior.
  4. He lost a lot of money by not keeping track of his expenses.
Answer these questions about the interview. All questions require more than one answer.


More Grammar Conversations for Intermediate Students (2)

Grammar Listening Practice

B2-16 Reflexive Pronouns
B2-16 Reflexive Pronouns
Well, be careful. Don’t hurt yourself.

                        Emphatic Pronouns
B2-17 Emphatic Pronouns
I’ll give it to him myself when I see him next week.

                        By + Gerund Clauses
B2-18 By + Gerund Clauses
You should support your ideas by adding supporting data.

B2-19 Passive Modals of Obligation
B2-19 Passive Modals of Obligation
First, all the documents need to be proofread.

B2-20 Do as a Replacement Verb
B2-20 Do as a Replacement Verb
I have not done that yet. I will try to do it today.

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