Across vs Through – What’s the difference?

Words like “across” and “through” almost appear to be the same. But these words carry different meanings and functions that people often fail to understand.

Across” and “through” are prepositions that are generally used to indicate the movement of an object or a person. But these words can also be used as adverbs. Since they are the same forms, they are easy to confuse. But there lie some subtle differences between them.

Let us discuss the main differences between Across and Through.

Across vs Through - What’s the difference?

Across vs Through – Difference

Use of Across

Across” is a word we use when indicating a movement, especially a transverse movement from one position or side to another. “Across” usually expresses a movement on something. It includes only an exterior or two- dimensional space. It can be used as both a preposition and an adverb.

In simple words, the most common usage of “across” is to indicate a movement from one position to another or on the opposite side. It is also used to indicate finding something, express something stretched from one point to another, overall coverage, or throughout.

Let us look at some examples;

  • She ran across the entire tennis court last night.
  • My house is across from the hospital.
  • You just came across the most prominent figure in India.
  • The teacher spread the carpets across the field.
  • The pizza chain is available across the world.
  • The ship traveled across the river.

Use of Through

The word “through” is also used to indicate a movement, but here we include depth in the contexts. It basically refers to a movement in something. Unlike “across”, here we include a three-dimensional space and it usually describes a surrounded environment. “Through” can also be used as a preposition and an adverb. However, it can also be used as an adjective when it is referring to a completion.

There are several definitions of “through”. The most common definitions are; a movement in a direction, to go in and out of a process, completion of something, or from one endpoint to another.

Let us look at some examples;

  • She ran through the back door.
  • The guide led us through a jungle.
  • She has been through a lot lately.
  • I was trying to peep through the keyhole.
  • The teachers went through our homework in the last class.
  • I had to go through all trouble because of you.

Remember the Difference between across and through

  • Both the words indicate a movement. But “across” indicates a movement on something, and “through” indicates a movement in something.
  • Across” includes only two-dimensional space, while ”through” includes a three-dimensional space. The former expresses a transverse movement, and the latter expresses a movement in depth.
  • Both the words can be used as prepositions and adverbs. “Through” can also be used as an adjective.
  • Thus, we see the words “across” and “through” can mean differently in different contexts. They have functions and usage that differ from each other. And misusing them can cause errors in sentence forming and can alter the meaning.

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