In English, there are several ways to express an experience that happened across a number of years. This article will review the meaning of the phrases “throughout the years” and “over the years.” And also, give examples of how they can be used in a sentence.
What Is The Difference Between “Throughout The Years” And “Over The Years”?
There is a significant difference between “throughout the years” and “over the years”. “Throughout the years” is used in a context where the situation has remained the same over time. While “over the years” is used when a situation is no longer the same as it was as time passed.
Take, for example, this sentence,
- Use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes has remained a problem throughout the years.
Here, the phrase “throughout the years” is used to clearly show that athletes’ use of performance-enhancing drugs has remained a problem from year to year and has not changed.
On the other hand, if I say,
- Over the years, the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes has reduced drastically and is no longer a major problem.
In the sentence above, I have successfully shown a change in the situation by using the phrase, “over the years”.
What Does “Over The Years” Mean?
“Over the years” is used to express a lengthy period of time when referring to an event that happened or will happen. For example, “The company has grown from medium size to a multi-million-dollar enterprise over the years since John resigned as the CEO”.
Here are more examples to help you grasp how the phrase is used in a sentence.
- Over the years, you will come to appreciate the significance of the early health care you received.
- She has a collection of gold pieces of jewelry that has become valuable over the year
What Does “Throughout The Years” Mean?
“Throughout the years” is a preposition that is used to imply that something happened all through a certain period of time. The phrase “throughout the years” is used in a sentence when trying to show that a certain situation has not changed over time.
Take a look at the correct sentences below to further understand how the term is used in a sentence.
- Her parents’ marriage has remained peaceful and loving throughout the years.
- Throughout the years, I have learned a lot as an intern at my company.
- My opinion on the use of marijuana has remained the same throughout the years.
Note that there is no element of change in any of the sentences above, hence the use of the phrase “throughout the years”.
Is It Correct To Say “Throughout The Years”?
Yes, it is correct to say “throughout the years”. But only when the person, thing or situation being referred to has remained constant or static over time. For instance: My appetite for fried chicken has remained the same throughout the years – this means my appetite for fried chicken is still intact.
According to the Google Ngram Viewer graph, the usage of “throughout the years” has gradually reduced with an increase in the use of the phrase “through the years”.
It is, however, still correct to say “throughout the years” as they very much mean the same thing.
Is “Over The Years” Or “Throughout The Years” Used The Most?
The Google Ngram Viewer graph reveals that “over the years” is mostly used than “throughout the years”.
The reason is not far-fetched given the fact that a lot of situations have changed over time. Throughout the years sound too static for a world that is constantly changing and evolving.
Do “Over Years” And “Over The Years” Mean The Same?
“Over years” and “over the years” do not mean the same thing. “Over years” refers to an undefined number of years while “over the years” is used to refer to a long time period, mostly in sentences that talk about the evolution of a certain person or situation.
- My passion for golf has grown over the years of absence from Paris.
This statement refers to all the years or the entire period that the speaker has been away from Paris (which may not be many years).
If, on the other hand, the sentence read:
- My passion for golf has grown over years of absence from Paris.
Then the listener would infer that the speaker had been away from Paris for a long time.
“Throughout The Years” And “Over The Years” – Synonyms
Now that you are here, you must have fully understood the meaning of and differences between the phrases “throughout the years” and “over the years”. Let’s take a look at a few phrases that have similar meanings to the previously mentioned ones.
- As time goes by
- As the years passed
- In the course of time
- As the years go by
- As time passed
You may also like: Through vs Throughout – Difference Revealed (Helpful Examples)
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.