Adverbials of means express the meaning of adopting some methods or ways of conducting the action denoted by the verb. They are normally realized by phrases with prepositions: ‘yòng’ (with), ‘yǐ’ (with), ‘tōngguò’ (through), etc. Examples of means adverbials are:
Qúnzhòng yòng ròutǐ de quānzi jǐnjin de wéizhù le mǔqīn.
(The people surrounded the Mother with a circle of their bodies.)
Yǐ wǒ zhī chánggōng dí zhī duǎn.
(Utilizing our strong points attacks the enemy’s weak points.)
Yòng ài cái néng gǎnshòu ài, yòng xīn cáinéng wēnnuǎn xīn.
(Only with love can you experience love, with heart can you warm heart.)
Tōngguò fǎlǜ biàngé shèhuì.
(Reform and transform society through law.)
Tōngguò hépíng shǒuduàn jiějué jiūfēn.
(Resolve disputes though peaceful means.)
Nǐ kěyǐ àn zhègè niǔ tíng jī.
(You may stop the machine by pressing this button.)
*Nǐ kěyǐ tíng jī àn zhègè niǔ.
Wǒ měitiān zuò gōnggòng qìchē shàngbān.
(I go to work every day by bus.)
*Wǒ měitiān shàngbān zuò gōnggòng qìchē.
The ‘yòng’ (with) and ‘yǐ’ (with) prepositional phrases express the idea of using an object (concrete or abstract) (as in (1a, b, c)) as a means of performing an action or the idea of adopting a way to achieve a goal or result. In (1a), for instance, the people tried to protect the Mother from being arrested by the policemen by way of surrounding her with their bodies. The phrases formed by the preposition (or verb) ‘Tōngguò’ (through) express the way of achieving a goal or doing something. Adopting a means describes a state, which starts with and continues with the action throughout the whole process until a result is achieved. Sentence (1f) contains a serial verb construction, the action of ‘pressing the button’ must be done first to achieve the goal of ‘stopping the machine’. Reversing the order of the two verbs would result in unacceptability, as in (1f’). Hence, in terms of the PTS, the adverbials of means are ordered before the verb.
 Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.