explain something BY or WITH something?

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phil_34

Senior Member
This sentence is my own. I'm not sure if 'by' or 'with' is correct here. Thanks for your help.

‘This can awfully well be explained WITH Chinese medicine,’ Dr. Peter says with conviction.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Where did you find the example? It seems to be a very strange sentence: what is the context?
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    ‘This can very well be explained in the context of Chinese medicine,’ Dr. Peter says with conviction.
     
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    phil_34

    Senior Member
    The example is from my manuscript. The context is as follows:

    For medical physicians it’s inexplicable that food is able to produce panic, not to mention in the way I experienced it yesterday. ‘This can awfully well be explained with Chinese medicine,’ Dr. Peter says with conviction. (I visited Dr. Peter and told him about the experience, and then he said this. It's present tense narrative.)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    To avoid the alternative meaning of 'very well' = 'truly', I would change Hildy1's version to:

    Chinese medicine explains this reaction very well ,’ Dr. Peter says with conviction.
     

    jlan

    Senior Member
    Eng/Fra/Deu
    Hi, great that this was settled but I'm still curious: is it by or with (or through or by means of)?

    I'm trying to translate German, and in German one can explain something "out of" something else. What adverb can be used in English? None of these satisfy my gut feeling somehow:

    Explain x by z
    Explain x with z
    Explain x from z
    Explain x through z

    "They have tried to explain his sleepiness by(?) everything, just not by(?) his hard work."
     
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