by force


Senior Member
a. His boxing technique was excellent, but he lost by force. His opponent was just too strong for him.
b. The chess master lost by pressure. His opponent was extremely persistent. He got tired, broke down and made a mistake.

Are the above grammatical?
Are they natural?

My problem is 'losing by force' and 'losing by pressure'.

I have no problem with 'winning by force', but 'losing by force' sound strange to me. The one who lost lost because the other person had more force than him. The other one won by force.

Many thanks.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I agree with you. These sentences are wrong. The reason is that we often use "by" to mean "by using":

    - He won by force. ==> He won by using force.:)
    - He lost by force. ==> He lost by using force.:confused:

    I don't think I would say "He won by pressure." The chess rules forbid him to apply waterboarding :eek: or other means of increasing pressure. So the winner had no way to "apply more pressure than normal". But the winner in your example had more persistence, so I could say:
    - He won by persistence.
    - He won by endurance.
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