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 LINGUISTICS & CULTURE


Autor:  Dale/RS
E-mail:  dale.thomas@hy.com.br
Data:  22/ABR/2006 10:38 AM
Assunto:  across and through
 
Mensagem: 

Such a simple question, such a complicated answer.

 

"Across" is used when describing something that passes from Point A to Point B.

"Through" is used when describing something penetrates or enters an object as it passes from Point A to Point B.  Actually, with "through" it's possible to start at Point A, walk/drive around, and return to Point A.

Sometimes either can be used in the same sentence, but the meaning will be slightly different.

In no way are the following examples complete, but they will give you a general idea of how the words are used.

 

(a1) I walked through the building. = Right.  The building is on all sides of you as you go from Point A to Point B.  Or maybe you entered at Point A, explored the building, and left through Point A.

(a2) I walked across the building. = Wrong.  See (a1).  You can't walk across the building because you have entered/penetrated it.

(a3) I walked across the roof of the building. = Right.  You are on top of the building, not in it.  No entrance, no penetration.

 

(b1) I drove across the mountains.  Right.  You went from one side to another.

(b2) I drove through the mountains.  Right.  As you drove, there were mountains on both sides of you.  Did you go from Point A to Point B, or did you enter and exit the mountains at the same place?  The sentence doesn't say.

(c1) I walked across the park.  Right.  You went from one side to the other.

(c2) I walked through the park.  Right.  The park was on both sides of you as you walked.  Did you go from Point A to Point B, or did you enter and exit the park at the same place?  The sentence doesn't say.

 

(d1) He walked across the water.  Wrong.  This is impossible outside a Biblical context.  You are saying that his feet did not get wet.

(d2) He walked through the water.  Right.  His feet and legs were in the water as he walked.  Perhaps he was a surfer, fisherman, someone playing in the rain, etc.

 

(e1) The arrow went across the target.  Possible, but it depends on the context.  The image is that of an arrow completely missing the target and going from one side to the other.

(e2) The arrow went through the target.  Right.  It penetrated the target.  It did not remain in the target.  It hit the target and exited the target.

 


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 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
across and through  –  Andrews  22/ABR/2006, 9:36 AM
across and through  –  Marcio Osorio  22/ABR/2006, 10:29 AM
 across and through  –  Dale/RS  22/ABR/2006, 10:38 AM

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