"ways by which"

grimbergen

Senior Member
Korean
Hello, members!
The following is an excerpt from the reading test material for high schoolers.

Coaches then should exert extra effort in getting to know the parents of their players, and by so doing, determine ways by which parents are willing to help their children and the team in general.

In the sentence, can "by which" be replaced by "in which"? The sentence could be "parents are willing to help their children and the team in general by/ in ways."

Please help. Thank you in advance! =)
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Actually, I am a bit confused here. On the one hand, 'ways by which' looks to me like an attempt to sound literary and slightly archaic. On the other hand, it is quite jarring. Makes me stop to think about it. I do not like it though I hesitate to openly call it 'wrong'... :)
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Actually, I am a bit confused here. On the one hand, 'ways by which' looks to me like an attempt to sound literary and slightly archaic. On the other hand, it is quite jarring. Makes me stop to think about it. I do not like it though I hesitate to openly call it 'wrong'... :)
    I'd openly call it wrong - or at the very least unidiomatic.

    But then I wouldn't have written "should exert extra effort", either. :(
     

    Ander111

    Member
    English - US, Canada
    It could, but it'd be just as stilted.

    Compared to most Western languages, English is marvelously economical—you can say a lot in just a few words.

    Unfortunately, when people see the simple, effective English they normally use, they often worry that it makes them seem unsophisticated. So they pad their language—here, for example, by writing "by which" rather than "that".
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    In the OP sentence you can't simply replace "in which" by "that".

    Coaches then should exert extra effort in getting to know the parents of their players, and by so doing, determine ways in which parents are willing to help their children and the team in general.

    *Coaches should [...] determine ways that parents are willing to help their children... This doesn't work. I think that, without really changing the meaning too much, we might also write "...determine ways to get parents to help their children..." or even "...determine ways for them to help the children..."
     
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