matthau wrote:Hi Jasminade,
Thank you very much.
To keep the ball rolling, here are some ideas.
1. In many grammars 'by' is opposed to 'with' as either 'agent' vs. 'instrument', or 'method' vs. 'instrument'.
e.g. The door was opened by the teacher. (agent)
The door was opened with a key. (instrument).
The door was opened by breaking the lock. (method)
However, with 'cover' these concepts do not work:
e.g. His face was covered with freckles. (instrument?
The lake was covered with / by ice.
2. It looks 'with', though the most frequently used preposition, has a restriction on expressing, so to say, voluntary protective covering. In that case 'by' is used.
e.g. The warrior's body was covered by a shield. (he is holding a shield to protect himself)
The warrior's body was covered with a shield. (somebody covered the warrior's dead body to pay tribute to him)
Do you think there is something in it?
I love semantics, you can always find something to explore!
"This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put."
matthau wrote:Hi folks,
I've been trying to work out a set of rules that could explain the choice of prepositions with 'covered':
covered with / covered by / covered in.
So I haven't been able to crack this puzzle so far. All I can say is that 'with' is by far the most frequently used one, and 'in' often occurs when cover stuff is undesirable and should be removed, e.g. He was all covered in blood, snow, etc.
systematic wrote:luqm80 comes, IMHO, very close when (s)he mentions collocations* as a possible explanation. I'll agree with those who say it doesn't pay to be a purist. One also has to draw a line at a point where the net outcome of research in the very broad discipline of cognitive linguistics has any practical use for the average 'CELTA' level teacher of English to speakers of other languages. The students want to learn to communicate and are probably less concerned with the analysis of paradigms.
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