It’s very interesting how a change in the preposition in an expression can change the meaning of it, or even make it right or wrong.
Should we say “Represented By” or “Represented With”? What do they mean, and what is the correct form to use them?
“Represented By” is more common and has a broader use. A representation of something indicates a description, a symbol. To be “Represented By” means that that item somehow relates to what is representing it. “Represented With” has a very strict use, and mostly indicates how an item is shown.
Let’s start by taking a look at some examples:
- The school team was represented by the color blue on the diagram.
- The school team was represented with the color blue on the diagram. (incorrect)
- The school team was represented with the trophy in the picture.
Sentences one and two are versions of the same content, one with “Represented By” and another with “Represented With”.
In the first one, which is correct, we say the school is “Represented By” the color blue. In other words, we can tell the school is present in the diagram because the color blue is present. In the second sentence, we use “Represented With”, but it’s just incorrect.
In the third sentence, however, we have a good example of “Represented With”. In the picture, people are carrying a trophy. The presence of this object represents the team, making the idea of it being present in the image.
In this case, to use “Represented With” is correct (although it could interchange with “Represented By” and work just as well).
“Represented By” is the most common way to indicate a representation. When a symbol or a person is used to represent something, we indicate it in a sentence by the expression “Represented By”.
When used in a sentence, this is what “Represented By” looks like:
- Terry was represented by the best lawyer in the state.
- As a singer, Marisol wanted to be represented by the best label possible.
- The available areas were represented on the map by the color green.
- The statistic was represented by the red bar on the chart.
- Christian faith is generally represented by a cross.
In every sentence, someone or something is being “Represented By” something else. In sentences 1 and 2, people have (or would like to have) others speaking on their behalf: a lawyer and a music label. That’s why “Represented By” is used.
In sentences 3 and 5, symbols or colors do the representation job. Because they are “Represented By”, we know what green areas on the map mean. Also, we can often tell someone is a Christian, by the symbol of the cross.
“Represented With” is used only to indicate an item on a picture or a scene that works as a representation of another. Usually, you can replace “Represented With” by “shown with” or even “Represented By”.
When used in a sentence, this is what “Represented With” looks like (also, note that we have some examples of how not to use it):
- In the painting, the woman is represented with a bundle of flowers.
- Mark was represented with his jersey in the team’s picture.
- In religious art, saints are often represented with their symbols.
- Willow was represented with the best lawyer available. (incorrect)
- The statistic was represented with the red bar on the diagram. (incorrect)
In sentences 1, 2 and 3, we describe how people are shown in the pictures: the woman is shown with flowers, Marks is “Represented by” his jersey, and saints are shown with their symbols. In these situations, “Represented With” is grammatically correct.
Sentences 4 and 5 show examples of how not to use “Represente With”.
By the definitions in this article, which form would you think is more common: “Represented By” or “Represented With”? Let’s look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below to find the answer to this question.
“Represented By”, as expected, is much more common than “Represented With”. We believe this happens because “Represented With” has a limited use and often easier idiomatic solutions can be found to replace it.
When talking about representation, always prefer to say “Represented By”. This form is more common and easy to use, and you’ll likely make sense when using it. “Represented With” should only be used to describe images, and could be replaced by “shown with”.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.