by process

Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I came across a definition to an word in an English vocabulary book in Chinese:

soil
erosion:

definition: the process by which soil is gradually removed by the rain, wind, or sea

I was wondering whether it is idiomatic to say so. Is "the process in" a better choice, because the original seems vague to me.
 
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Both work. It would be nitpicking to say there's any real difference between them. We would say that in the process of erosion, soil is removed by water or wind. That's saying what the process of erosion is, or consists in. But we can also talk of it as an agent: soil is removed by erosion (by a/the process of erosion); though it's also more directly removed by water or wind. So 'by' and 'in' both make sense for both 'erosion' on its own and 'process of erosion'.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Both work. It would be nitpicking to say there's any real difference between them. We would say that in the process of erosion, soil is removed by water or wind. That's saying what the process of erosion is, or consists in. But we can also talk of it as an agent: soil is removed by erosion (by a/the process of erosion); though it's also more directly removed by water or wind. So 'by' and 'in' both make sense for both 'erosion' on its own and 'process of erosion'.
    I see. It is very insightful. Thank you very much.
     
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