Both “through” and “throughout” have the same base word connection to them. For some people, this makes knowing the difference a little more confusing than it has to be. In this article, we’ll look at what sets them apart and how to use them the correct way.
What Is The Difference Between “Through” And “Throughout”?
Through should be used when talking about starting on one end of something and either coming out or stopping at the other end. Throughout should be used when talking about something that is in every part of a place or object.
The definition of “through,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “from one end or side of something to the other.”
The definition of “throughout,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in every part, or during the whole period of time.”
We find that these definitions help us to explain the immediate difference better. Of course, there is a certain amount of overlap between both of the words, and there are instances where they’re interchangeable.
Generally, though, “through” means “one end to the other,” while “throughout” means “in every corner.”
It doesn’t always have to be a directional or locational definition, either:
- Throughout time, man has struggled to understand the intricate way the world works.
As you can see, we can also use “throughout” when we’re talking about a period of time instead.
Is “Through” Or “Throughout” Used The Most?
While the two words aren’t identical, it’s good to know which one is more common to use in English. Many people have their preferences, and sometimes it helps to see what’s popular to make your own decisions.
If you look at this graph, you’ll see that “through” is by far the more popular choice of the two. We’ve compared the appearance of the two words in pieces of literature and determined that “through” is a good choice, whereas “throughout” is usually left aside.
So, what makes this difference between the two words so apparent? Well, most of it probably comes down to the context where the two words make the most sense.
Generally, when we use “through,” we’re talking about something going from one end to the other. It’s common to talk about paths that people or objects take using the word “through.”
- It went straight through me, and I needed to throw up!
- I wandered through the forest.
As you can see, common situations like this make it a lot easier to use “through” in a sentence.
However, with the likes of “throughout,” we’re usually talking more about being in every place and corner of something. More specifically, we might also be talking about time periods or something similar to talk about things that have always happened.
- They didn’t stop screaming throughout the night.
- Throughout history, discrimination has been everywhere.
Generally, these examples aren’t all that common to come across. You won’t see them nearly as often as chances with using the word “through.” That’s part of the reason why “through” is so much more popular if you refer to the graph.
7 Examples Of How To Use “Through” In A Sentence
It would help us even more if we could go through some helpful examples. We’ll start by putting “through” in a sentence so you can see what we mean about it.
“Through” means that something has gone in one end and either come out or stopped at the other. There’s always a distinct and noticeable path mentioned when we use “through.”
- I walked through the school corridors until I found my class.
- You need to go through the proper authorities before you can do something like that.
- We should go through our bags to find what we’re looking for!
- They went through my belongings without my permission.
- Are you saying that you’re through with me?
- I wandered through the forest alone.
- The bee carried the pollen through the fields.
As you can see, “through” is mostly used when we’re talking about a movement or direction of some kind. There’s always a distinct path mentioned, and it’s usually a physical thing that someone can take to get to the other side.
You may also hear the phrase “we’re through” when someone is talking about something being over (like a relationship or being caught committing a crime). In this case, the path is a more metaphorical one that talks about the journey two (or more) people have taken together.
“Throughout” is never interchangeable with “through” in this sense because it doesn’t talk about a pathway of any kind. However, you might have more luck using “through” instead of “throughout.”
7 Examples Of How To Use “Throughout” In A Sentence
We find that examples are some of the easiest ways to pick up on new language rules, so we’ll also walk you through some of the best sentences using “throughout.”
“Throughout” is used when we want to talk about an entire space filling up. It might also refer to time being filled up as well.
- It echoed throughout the entire audience.
- I’ve traveled throughout the lands to find what I’m looking for.
- Throughout time, we’ve never found the answer to whether we’re alone in the universe.
- It’s hard to know what else is out there throughout space.
- There have been some terrible people throughout history.
- Thousands of people throughout this city are unemployed.
- He was laughing throughout the entire comedy skit.
When we use “throughout,” we’re talking about something that fills every corner in. If it’s a physical space, it means that the whole space is filled. If it’s not a physical space, it talks about an entire time frame being filled up instead.
Through And Throughout – Synonyms
Let’s go over some synonyms to help you understand the words slightly better. With alternative words, you can also have more choices to make. This will expand your vocabulary and make it much easier for you to explore new ideas.
- All over
This is a great synonym for “throughout” because it’s talking about something being “all over” an object or place.
- All through
Instead of saying “throughout,” we can use the phrase “all through” to also indicate that something has happened for a long period of time.
This is a great synonym for “through.” We can use it when we want to show that someone did something while an activity or event happened.
Is It “Throughout” Or “Through Out”?
When we want to use the word “throughout” correctly, it’s important to know how to spell it. If you can remember which is the correct way, then you’ll never run into a problem with using it.
“Throughout” is the correct spelling. You should not spell it “through out” at any time.
“Throughout” is a word that is indeed made up of two separate words, “through” and “out.” However, when we include them together and remove the space separating them, it gives the words a different meaning. That’s why it’s important to remember to make them one word at all times.
Is Through A Noun Or A Verb?
When you’re learning English, it’s useful to know what types of words you’re working with. We know that nouns are “named” objects and verbs are “doing” words, but neither of those applies when we use the word “through.”
“Through” is an adverb that we use to modify other verbs in a sentence. We use it with other verbs like “walk” in the sentence, “I walk through the building.” Without “through,” the verb “walk” isn’t modified correctly.
Of course, “through” can also be used as a preposition. Generally, we include it as a preposition to mean “as a result of.” It’s less common in this form, but it’s the other way that we can use “through” in a sentence.
Is It Ever Correct To Use “Thru”?
If you want to shorten the word “through,” you might be curious about “thru” as a choice. You might even have seen it written down a few times. Let’s see when it’s correct to use.
“Thru” is not the correct spelling for “through” in formal writing. You should always stick to spelling it “through.” However, in informal writing, like texting, you can replace the word and use “thru” whenever you want.
There is one example where we might be able to use “thru,” even in formal situations, and it’s the most famous case of it in the known world.
The phrase “drive-through” is something that we apply (mostly to restaurants) when we’re able to drive up to a service window and order what we want to. However, this phrase is spelled “thru” when it’s used in all situations.
- The coffee shop drive-thru is just around the corner.
- Do you want to order from the drive-thru?
Even in formal situations, “drive-thru” is an acceptable use of the misspelling.
Does “Threw” Have The Same Meaning As “Thru” And “Through”?
While “through” and “thru” sound a lot like “threw,” that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
“Threw” is a past-tense verb meaning you launched something through the air. It has no other similarities besides how it sounds to the word “through.”
Does “Go Through” Have The Same Meaning As “Through” Or “Throughout”?
“Go through” means the same as “through” because we’re using the verb “go” and the adverb “through” to show that someone is going through a path. However, “go through” is not the same as “throughout” because “go” implies a direction.
Does “Thoroughly” Have The Same Meaning As “Through” Or “Throughout”?
“Thoroughly” is a word that’s similar spelled but has no related meanings to either “through” or “throughout.” “Thoroughly” means you spent a lot of time doing something and has nothing to do with going through something or being throughout a place or time.
What Is The Difference Between “Throughout” And “Along”?
“Throughout” means that something is present at every point. “Along” means that something is moving in a constant direction. There are no similarities between them, as “along” talks more about one singular line.
Common Confusions About “Through” And “Throughout”
Let’s finish up by looking at some of the biggest confusions between “through” and “throughout” with the most common phrases.
Through The Years Or Throughout The Years?
“Through the years” is more appropriate when you’re talking about something you’ve done over the course of a few years in your life. “Throughout the years” only works if you’ve spent every year of your life dedicated to that thing (which is impossible).
- I’ve learned a lot about this through the years.
Through The Day Or Throughout The Day?
“Through the day” is used when you want to get through the course of a day; it implies a path you take to get from morning to night. “Throughout the day” is used when you talk about something that occurred during the entire course of the day.
- I need to get through the day.
- I had a headache throughout the day.
Through The Night Or Throughout The Night?
“Through the night” is used when you want to talk about the course of a night (from sunset to sunrise). “Throughout the night” is used when talking about the night as a whole and applying it to every possible time in it.
- I didn’t sleep through the night very well.
A dog was howling throughout the night!
Through Time Or Throughout Time?
“Throughout time” is the most appropriate choice when talking about things that have happened throughout time (generally historically). “Through time” only works if you’re capable of traveling through time (which is impossible).
- Throughout time, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves as a civilization.
Through History Or Throughout History?
“Throughout history” is synonymous with “throughout time” and is the most appropriate choice to talk about historical events that all lead to the present. “Through history” only applies to one singular path or track in history that you’re focusing on and is rarely used.
- There have been many mistakes made throughout history.
Walk Through Or Walk Thru?
“Walk through” is the correct spelling and should be the only one you use. It uses the verb “walk” and the adverb “through.” “Walk thru” is a misspelling, but you can use it informal cases like texting friends.
- We walk through the park together.
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Martin is the founder of Grammarhow.com. With top grades in English and teaching experience at university level, he is on a mission to share all of his knowledge about the English language. Having written thousands of articles, he is an expert at explaining difficult topics in a simple language.
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