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Hi,
Thank you for answering questions.

Probably the easiest way to use part of speech tags is by selecting them from the drop-down list.

1) Is 'by' necessary? Without it, does it sound odd?

2) What if the sentence was composed with subject part and complement part switching their positions as in 'Selecting them from the drop-down list is probably the easiest way to use part of speech tags.'
You don't say ' By selecting them from ...' ,do you?

3) In what grammatical catergory do you say the part after 'is' belong to?
I would say 'by' is obviously prepostion, thus 'by selecting them from the drop-down list' is a prepositional phrase, which functions as complement. Is this the way you would explain?
A prepositional phrase, being an adjective, serving as complement ?

Thank you.
Comments  
1) Is 'by' necessary?-- Yes. Without it, does it sound odd?-- Yes; use '...is (to) select them...'

2) What if the sentence was composed with subject part and complement part switching their positions as in 'Selecting them from the drop-down list is probably the easiest way to use part of speech tags.'- Yes, that is OK.

You don't say ' By selecting them from ...' ,do you?-- You could, but as usually.

3) I would say 'by' is obviously prepostion, thus 'by selecting them from the drop-down list' is a prepositional phrase, which functions as complement. Is this the way you would explain?-- Yes.

A prepositional phrase, being an adjective, serving as complement ?-- OK.
Thank you Mr.M.
Mister Micawber1) Is 'by' necessary?-- Yes. Without it, does it sound odd?-- Yes; use '...is (to) select them...'
Is this because of the to-inf. in 'the easiest way to use part of speech tags'? To balance the sound or constituents of the sentence?

That is, if you drop the to-inf. I think 'selecting' will fit there without by in it. Do you agree?

'Probably the easiest way is selecting them from the drop-down list.

If 'by' is necessary here too, then I might be in a big trouble. Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Is this because of the to-inf. in 'the easiest way to use part of speech tags'? To balance the sound or constituents of the sentence?- Yes

That is, if you drop the to-inf. I think 'selecting' will fit there without 'by' in it. Do you agree?-- Yes
Oh that's good. Thank you very much~
I'm sorry that I write a post again. I hope my questioning doesn't bother you..
But I really hope that I will gain some good understanding by asking this agian.

(a) Probably the easiest way to use tags is by selecting them from the drop-down list.
(b) Probably the easiest way to use tags is to select them from the drop-down list.

Can I say (a) was logically meant to be
' Probably the easiest way to use tags is (doing it) by selecting them from the drop-down list. ' ?

Assuming this might be a reasonable interpretation led me to see (b) is by itself able to confer the meaning as above, which got me puzzled.

Then, is it plausible to presume that to-infinitive is more of a verb-like form, compared to verb-ing form? It seems that to-inf in (b) denotes action (to select) whereas selecting is more likely a noun in that it is preceded by (doing it). -- only if my presumption is correct.

Take another case for example,
(c) The key to picking the right cockpit furniture for your boat is selecting the right setup for the boat size and the kind of fishing you do.

Here, I see the construcion is simply 'A is B'
so, 'selecting' is felt to be kind of a noun although it takes an object.

This is difficult to explain. What I am saying now is confusing even to me as I am saying it.
Anyway, to sum up, can I say to-inf has more action property in it than V-ing does? and that is why (a) and (b) are the way they are?

Thank you for reading.
Please let me listen to your advice. Thank you.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I'm sorry that I write a post again. I hope my questioning doesn't bother you..- Shorter posts would be welcome.

(a) Probably the easiest way to use tags is by selecting them from the drop-down list.
(b) Probably the easiest way to use tags is to select them from the drop-down list.
Can I say (a) was logically meant to be ' Probably the easiest way to use tags is (doing it) by selecting them from the drop-down list. ' ?-- There is no point in adding 'doing it'. You already have 'selecting them'.

Assuming this might be a reasonable interpretation led me to see (b) is by itself able to confer the meaning as above, which got me puzzled.-- Both A and B confer the meaning without any assistance.

Then, is it plausible to presume that to-infinitive is more of a verb-like form, compared to verb-ing form?- Yes, but that is true anyway.

It seems that to-inf in (b) denotes action (to select) whereas selecting is more likely a noun in that it is preceded by (doing it). -- only if my presumption is correct.-- Again, no need for 'doing it'.

Take another case for example, (c) The key to picking the right cockpit furniture for your boat is selecting the right setup for the boat size and the kind of fishing you do. Here, I see the construcion is simply 'A is B' so, 'selecting' is felt to be kind of a noun although it takes an object.- OK, I understand the ambiguity.

This is difficult to explain. What I am saying now is confusing even to me as I am saying it.
Anyway, to sum up, can I say to-inf has more action property in it than V-ing does?-- Yes.

and that is why (a) and (b) are the way they are?-- How are they?!
Mister Micawber(a) Probably the easiest way to use tags is by selecting them from the drop-down list.
(b) Probably the easiest way to use tags is to select them from the drop-down list.
Can I say (a) was logically meant to be ' Probably the easiest way to use tags is (doing it) by selecting them from the drop-down list. ' ?-- There is no point in adding 'doing it'. You already have 'selecting them'.
Thank you so much again Mr.M. Emotion: smile

What I meant was '... the easiest way to use tags is (using tags) by selecting them ...'
I think my problem was that I was not familiar with the construction in which a prepositional phrase fuctioning as a complement preceded by Be as a main verb.
Though still cloudy a little, I think it is good now.
Thank you~