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According to a dictionary throughout is used to indicate every part of a place or an object. I'm not sure how to use it when referring to a period of time. Are the following sentences correct:

1) He was standing there throughout the entire round.

2) I was out of the country throughout summer.

 

I posted this very question on another page and the answers were mixed. Some wrote that it should be 'through.' 

It makes sense since we do say "I slept through the movie/my class."

Original Post

According to a dictionary throughout is used to indicate every part of a place or an object. I'm not sure how to use it when referring to a period of time. Are the following sentences correct:

1) He was standing there throughout the entire round.
2) I was out of the country throughout summer.

Hi, Ashraful—In (1), the use of "out" in "throughout" is redundant. "Throughout" already emphasizes that you were there through the entire thing. I recommend either changing "throughout" to "through" or "for," or deleting  "entire."

(1a) He was standing there through the entire round.
(1b) He was standing there for the entire round.
(1c) He was standing there throughout the round.

In (2), the only problem is that you have not used "the" before the name of the season. "Throughout" works fine there, because you have not used "entire."

Hi, Ashraful—In (1), the use of "out" in "throughout" is redundant. "Throughout" already emphasizes that you were there through the entire thing. I recommend either changing "throughout" to "through" or "for," or deleting  "entire."

(1a) He was standing there through the entire round.
(1b) He was standing there for the entire round.
(1c) He was standing there throughout the round.

In (2), the only problem is that you have not used "the" before the name of the season. "Throughout" works fine there, because you have not used "entire."

Does it mean that 'throughout' can be used if you leave out 'entire?'

But is it wrong to say "He was standing there through the round."

Yes.

No.

I'm sure you know that it's not easy to remember all these rules while you're in the middle of a conversation.  Should I stick to 'through' just to be on the safe side ? Since I say 'I slept through my alarm/ the movie' it'll be easier for me to remember it.  

I'm just curious, which one sounds the more natural to you between:

1) "He was just standing there through the entire round."

2) "He was just standing there throughout the round."

I'm just curious, which one sounds the more natural to you between:

1) "He was just standing there through the entire round."
2) "He was just standing there throughout the round."

They sound equally natural to me, though I would use the simple past:

1a) He just stood there through the entire round.
2a) He just stood there throughout the round.

I'm sure you know that it's not easy to remember all these rules while you're in the middle of a conversation.  Should I stick to 'through' just to be on the safe side ?

My message to you is that, in the type of usage we are talking about (where "through" or "thoughout" is followed by a noun phrase denoting period of time), "throughout" is simply more emphatic than "through."

From a functional standpoint, the addition of "-out" to "through" has the same effect as the addition of "entire." Seth Lindstromberg, who specializes in teaching prepositions to ESL learners, confirms this:

Quote:

"Throughout means 'continuously or continually from beginning to end'—although, no doubt, throughout is sometimes used to exaggerate about this. Through is not so emphatic about continuity . . ." (p. 131).

- Lindstromberg, S. (2010). English prepositions explained. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

They sound equally natural to me, though I would use the simple past:

1a) He just stood there through the entire round.
2a) He just stood there throughout the round.

My message to you is that, in the type of usage we are talking about (where "through" or "thoughout" is followed by a noun phrase denoting period of time), "throughout" is simply more emphatic than "through."

From a functional standpoint, the addition of "-out" to "through" has the same effect as the addition of "entire." Seth Lindstromberg, who specializes in teaching prepositions to ESL learners, confirms this:

Quote:

"Throughout means 'continuously or continually from beginning to end'—although, no doubt, throughout is sometimes used to exaggerate about this. Through is not so emphatic about continuity . . ." (p. 131).

- Lindstromberg, S. (2010). English prepositions explained. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Thank you very much. I think I get it. 

So that means 'I slept through the alarm/my class' isn't a set phrase. I can also say "I slept throughout the movie/class" 

So that means 'I slept through the alarm/my class' isn't a set phrase. I can also say "I slept throughout the movie/class" 

You can say "I slept throughout the movie" and "I slept throughout my class," but not ?? "I slept throughout the alarm"—unless the phrase "the alarm" will be understood in context as referring to a specific alarm that predictably lasts for a certain predictable period of time, like a movie or a class.

Normally, "I slept through my alarm" just means that the speaker didn't wake up or get up when his alarm went off. It need not imply that the alarm sounded for the full period of time that it is programmed to sound if not turned off. The speaker may have turned the alarm off immediately and unconsciously.

"I slept through my alarm" works rather like "I drove through the stoplight."

Last edited by David, Moderator

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