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Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHomework Help · 1 decade ago

By which, In which, during which, whereby, in which where (what are the differences between these phrases)?

mitosis is the process by which, in which, whereby........etc.......there are lots more than the one i listed in the question.

what are the differences. i often see these phrases in a whole lot of defintions. what changement happens in the sentence whether i use this or the other

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  • 1 decade ago
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    This is a very good question. It investigates the subtleties of the language, and the use of prepositions--which cause native speakers and foreign speakers alike a world of trouble.

    Taking your sample phrase:

    Mitosis is the process by which--means that it is the process that allows the action to take place

    Mitosis is the process during which--means that there is a temporal component. It suggests that there may be a series of processes, and this is the one during which cell division occurs. Interesting, huh? Quite a difference in meaning!

    Mitosis is the process in which--would be an incorrect usage, because 'in' typically is a preposition of location. A process is not a location.

    Mitosis is the process whereby--Whereby is tricky. It is actually an adverb, but is approximating a preposition of location. I hunted around for a good description of usage, and the best came from Wikipedia:

    Usage notes Use of whereby as a formal equivalent of 'where' is nonstandard and is avoided by careful speakers and writers, who use where or in which instead. The term typically fails readability and comprehension review so it is generally avoided in published works. The term is also avoided by speakers as it makes it difficult to understand the message that is trying to be communicated.

    Of the possibilities, I prefer 'by which', because it is a specific process that allows the action. Temporality is already included in the word 'process', so 'during which' creates redundancy.

    Thanks for your question. I enjoy those that really make me have to dig for an answer.

    Source(s): Background in linguistics
  • 1 decade ago

    Mitosis ins the process during which........

    I could have also used by which, but we have to give a time component since this is a process.

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