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Is It Correct To Say, “By Way of Introduction”?

There are many strange word pairings in the English language, and “by way of” is no exception. One way you might see this word combination is in the phrase “by way of introduction,” but is this phrase grammatically correct? What exactly does it mean? 

It is correct to say “by way of introduction.” We most commonly use “by way of introduction” when we use a particular means to introduce something or someone. However, this prepositional phrase can make a sentence too wordy, so we often reserve it for formal settings.

Continue to learn more about the various ways to use this prepositional phrase correctly and what exactly this seemingly obscure pairing of words means. 

​​Is It Correct to Say “By Way Of”?

It is correct to use “by way of” in writing or conversation; however, to use it correctly, you must pair the set of words with another word or phrase, such as “introduction” to use it correctly. 

“By way of” might seem like a strange phrase to those who don’t use it often or are unfamiliar with the English language.

This is because “by way of,” not to be confused with “by the way,” serves as a preposition (source). A preposition is a word — or, in this case, a grouping of words — that we pair with a noun to show direction, time, place, location, spatial relationships, or to introduce an object (source). 

For example, to use a preposition to show location, you might say, “he walked to the neighbor’s house.” In this sentence, “to” is the preposition, and it indicates that “the neighbor’s house” is the location.

“By way of” functions as a preposition meaning “for the purpose of, “via,” or “by the route through” (source).

The following article shares a little more information about using  prepositions correctly: “Appreciation of or for: When to Use Each Preposition in Conjunction with Appreciation.”

Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “By Way of Introduction”?

Since we’ve established that “by way of” is a grammatically correct prepositional phrase, the expression “by way of introduction” is also grammatically correct in the proper context. 

As you can see from the definition above, we can pair prepositions with nouns, introducing objects. This is how the preposition “by way of” functions when you pair it with the word “introduction.”

Again, “by way of introduction” is a prepositional phrase, which we create by pairing a preposition (by way of) with its corresponding noun (introduction). 

Of course, “by way of introduction” is not a complete sentence, so you must pair it with at least one other sentence clause to form a complete thought. 

In addition, “by way of introduction” can often be too cumbersome or lengthy for certain uses. You won’t often find this phrase in casual conversation; Instead, it is more appropriate for formal settings and written works. 

Still, while some uses of this phrase are not technically grammatically incorrect, they may not be the most concise or appropriate way to communicate an idea. 

What Does “By Way of Introduction” Mean?

Image by Anastasia Gepp via Pixabay

The complete phrase “by way of introduction” means that someone takes a course of action to formally make someone or something known.

While we now know that the phrase “by way of introduction” is grammatically correct when properly used within a complete sentence, we must understand what this phrase means, so let’s break it down by each word:

The word “by” is a preposition, meaning “through, or through the medium of.” Another definition might be “through the agency or instrumentality of” (source).

In this case, the word “way” is a noun. It means “a course leading in a direction or toward an objective.” It can also mean “a method of accomplishing” (source).

The word “of” is a preposition. It means “relating to or showing somebody/something” (source).

When you piece these definitions together, you’ll find that “by way of” means something like, “Through a course leading towards the objective,” which the word “of” shows. While technically a prepositional phrase, this combination of words also effectively forms its own preposition. 

Another definition of “by way of” might be “as a form of” or “by means of” (source).

The root of the noun “introduction” is “introduce,” which means “the act of bringing something into notice, practice or use” (source). 

When you put the word “introduction” after the preposition “by way of,” it becomes the objective. 

How Do You Use “By Way of Introduction”?

You use the phrase “by way of introduction” when you are using one object or idea to serve as a way of introducing another object or idea. In other words, you are using a demonstration or action to serve as an introduction.

While “by way of introduction” serves as a phrase to communicate that you are making someone or something known, it is not appropriate to use it just any time you make an introduction.

When Can You Use “By Way of Introduction”?

Because “by way of introduction” is a prepositional phrase, you’ll often find it at the beginning of a sentence. However, you might sometimes see the phrase in the middle of a more complex sentence structure. 

If an author uses it at the beginning or middle of a sentence, you’ll often see a comma following it. You may also see another prepositional phrase following it. 

In What Context Can You Use “By Way of Introduction”?

We mentioned before that “by way of introduction” is not always the most concise or suitable phrase for certain situations. So, in which contexts is it appropriate to use this phrase? 

There are numerous examples of contexts where “by way of introduction” is a suitable phrase. One context might be an academic setting, such as during a lesson in a classroom. To introduce a new subject, you might hear a teacher say something like this: 

Today we will learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. By way of introduction, let’s watch this video of a device called Newton’s Cradle.

Another context might be a workplace setting: 

We will be implementing a new timecard management system, and we’d like you to attend a training luncheon by way of introduction to the new software.

Lastly, you might hear the phrase in a formal speech: 

We are pleased to announce the winner of Best Supporting Actress, and we are excited to share a clip of their latest film by way of introduction. 

These are just a few example scenarios where you might encounter this prepositional phrase. 

Using “By Way of Introduction” in a Full Sentence 

Now, let’s look at the different places within a sentence that you might find “by way of introduction.” 

At the beginning of the sentence: 

By way of introduction, they shared a slideshow presentation about the new logo with their employees.

In the middle of the sentence: 

They shared a slideshow presentation by way of introduction to the new logo.

The company is updating its logo, and by way of introduction, they shared a slideshow presentation with their employees.

At the end of the sentence: 

The company is releasing a new logo, and they shared a slideshow presentation with their employees by way of introduction.

When Not to Use a “By Way of Introduction”

Again, overusing the phrase “by way of introduction” or using it in the wrong context can make a sentence too wordy and complicated. So, you should only use this phrase when the circumstances make it necessary. 

One scenario where you would probably not use this phrase is introducing one person to another person. For instance, you would be incorrect to say, “By way of introduction, this is my aunt Susan.”

Showing Direction

The preposition “by way of” can also be synonymous with the word “via.” For example, you might say one of the following: 

  • The visitor arrived via train.
  • The visitor arrived by way of a train.

However, because “introduction” is not a noun related to location or spatial movement, you will not normally use “by way of introduction” in this way. For example, it would not make a lot of sense to say: “The visitor arrived by way of introduction.” 

Similarly, the sentence “They welcomed the visitor by way of introduction” might sound like it makes sense. But if you replace it with a similar phrase, you’ll see that this sentence doesn’t work: 

  • They welcomed the visitor as an introduction.
  • They welcomed the visitor by means of introduction.

You can see that this does not work because the sentence does not give us any information as to what instrument or method someone used to introduce them. Instead, you would say something like: 

He shared the credentials of the visitor by way of introduction to this unfamiliar individual.

What Can You Use Instead of “By Way of Introduction”?

Several other phrases can replace “by way of introduction.” Here are a few: 

  • As an introduction
  • As a means of introduction 
  • As a form of introduction 
  • By means of introduction
  • To introduce 

Using an earlier example, let’s see how these phrases might sound in place of “by way of introduction”: 

Today we will learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. By way of introduction, let’s watch this video of a device called Newton’s Cradle.

Today we will learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. As an introduction, let’s watch this video of a device called Newton’s Cradle.

Today we will learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. As a means of introduction, let’s watch this video of a device called Newton’s Cradle.

Today we will learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. As a form of introduction, let’s watch this video of a device called Newton’s Cradle.

Today we will learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. To introduce this lesson, let’s watch this video of a device called Newton’s Cradle.

When using another phrase instead of “by way of introduction,” you might notice that you’ll need to replace “by way of” with another preposition, such as “by” or “to.” This allows the replacement phrase to serve the same purpose as the original. 

A great way to determine whether you’re using “by way of introduction” correctly is to plug in some of these similar phrases instead, as we did in the previous section. 

Writing Concisely

Clearly, “by way of introduction” is not the most concise phrase to use in your writing or speech. There are many similar phrases we can use in its place to resolve this issue.

In general, prepositional phrases have the potential to make your sentence a little bit more clunky, so take extra care when using them.

So, how can you determine the most concise way to write or talk? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to ensure you are writing in the most concise way possible. 

  1. Does the sentence still make sense without this phrase?
  1. Does the sentence make sense when you speak it aloud? 
  1. Are there parts of the sentence that make the meaning more difficult to decipher? 

These questions can help you identify parts of your sentence that you can eliminate. In some cases, these questions might lead you to eliminate or reword the phrase “by way of introduction.” In other cases, they might confirm that your use of this phrase is appropriate and essential to the sentence. 

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According to Purdue University Online Writing Center, “Concise writing does not always have the fewest words, but it always uses the strongest ones” (source). Use the questions above to determine whether “by way of introduction” is the strongest expression for your purposes.

Final Thoughts

“By way of introduction” can seem like a tricky phrase to understand and implement in conversation and writing. However, once you understand its meaning and uses, it will become a valuable phrase in formal settings that will elevate the complexity of your sentence structures. 

Once you master the use of this phrase, you will have the knowledge to correctly pair ‘by way of’ with other words and phrases. You’ll also find that you can apply the same idea to a variety of other prepositional phrases. The possibilities are endless!