a-quiver <with> the sun

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park sang joon

Senior Member
The protagonist, Philip, who was born with a club foot, moved in with his uncle Mr. Carey, the Vicar of Blackstable after his mother's death.
He dropped out of King's School at Tercanbury, came to Germany, and stays at the Frau Professor Erlin's lodging house with several guests.
One day he went up a certain hill.
It was autumn now, but often the days were cloudless still, and then the sky seemed to glow with a more splendid light: it was as though nature consciously sought to put a fuller vehemence into the remaining days of fair weather. He looked down upon the plain, a-quiver with the sun, stretching vastly before him
[Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham]
I'd like to know why it is "with," not "by."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I'd like to know why it is "with," not "by."
    That type of phrase simply cannot be constructed with "by," that's why. Wrong preposition.

    The garbage pile was crawling with insects. :tick:
    The garbage pile was crawling by insects. :cross:

    He was shaking with rage. :tick:
    He was shaking by rage. :cross:

    The lab stank with chemicals. :tick:
    The lab stank by chemicals. :cross:
    Last edited:


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I don't think this construction works with by. You might say a-quiver in the sun (or quivering in the sun) or a-quiver with the sun (quivering with the sun) [meaning the sunlight].

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