Which expression is correct when we use the prepositions with or by for indicating that the reduction is carried out using $\ce{NaBH4}$ as a reductor:

It is reduced to sodium phenylselenolate with $\ce{NaBH4}$ in alkaline ethanol.


It is reduced to sodium phenylselenolate by $\ce{NaBH4}$ in alkaline ethanol.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi and welcome to chemistry.stackexchange.com. Feel free to take a tour of the site. I improved the formatting of your post; among others by including MathJax. For more information on how to do so yourself, check out the help center, this meta-post or this one. $\endgroup$ – Jan Dec 13 '15 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Very funny, but there's SE site for learning English, you know? $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Dec 13 '15 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Well yes, but this is a rather specialistic chemical context. It could be that normal language requires preposition $x$ while chemistry speak requires preposition $y$. Thus I feel that it is OK to post the question here. $\endgroup$ – Jan Dec 13 '15 at 21:27

Either is fine. In the most literal interpretation of the statement I would say by (as it does the actual action of reduction), however I personally would likely use with, to a scientist there is little difference though. If you were filing a patent, the term might might matter a bit more, which a quick survey of the patent literature suggests with. Again though this is minutia and nit-picky.

I would suggest phrasing your sentence more as:

...is reduced to sodium phenylselenolate with a solution of NaBH4 in alkaline ethanol .

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ perfect, you are right , thanks for these clear explanations @Jan,@A.K $\endgroup$ – Nadine Dec 13 '15 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think they're exchangeable, and you give the right example. "By" leaves no doubt about who the acting party is. "A is reduced by B", or "A is reduced by addition of B". If you say "A is reduced with B", I'm inclined to ask if there is also a "C". ;-) $\endgroup$ – Karl Dec 13 '15 at 21:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.