'Through' is a word in English that may confuse learners at first sight. It functions as a preposition, an adverb, and an adjective.

How to Use "Through" in English?

'Through' can function as a preposition, an adverb, and an adjective. In this lesson, we will discuss how to learn and use it.

Functions of 'Through'

'Through' as a Preposition


One of the most common uses of 'through' is to function as a preposition. We are going to analyze the different types of prepositions it can be below:

'Through' as a Preposition of Movement and Direction

We can use 'through' as a preposition of movement and direction to show movement from one place to another. In this case, we must always have an action verb such as walk, run, go, etc. in the sentence. Take a look:

  • When we want to indicate that someone/something is passing from one side of a place to the other, we can use 'through':

The teenagers slowly walked through the jungle.

The monster suddenly ran through the woods.

  • When we want to talk about something that is being broken or cut, we can use 'through'. Look:

The naughty boys shot the ball right through the neighbor's window.

My mother dropped the vase through the window.

  • When we want to talk about going into a passage, a door, etc. to get to the other end of it:

Why can't they just go through the cave?

A : Where can I find Professor Brown's office?

B : Walk straight through that hall and enter room number 55.

  • We can also use 'through' to talk about going past a place, where we should normally stop:

The driver drove through the red light and got a ticket for it.

My father was so angry that we walked through the village in which we were supposed to stay.

'Through' as a Preposition of Time

'Through' can be used as a preposition of time to indicate the time of the action taking place. When we want to show a period of time from its beginning to its end, we can use it. Study the following examples:

He slept tight through the night.

Here, it can be inferred that he was not disturbed during his sleep from the beginning till the end.

The couple next door literally argued all through the day.

'Through' as a Preposition of Manner

As you might probably know, prepositions of manner indicate how the action is done. Here, we are going to study how we can use 'through' to show us a method in the sentence:

I heard the devastating news through some stranger on the street.

Here, if we ask 'how?', we can easily find the answer with the preposition.

Did Anna find it out through the TV?

'Through' as a Particle

Sometimes, 'through' is used with some specific verbs and changes their meaning completely and so it forms phrasal verbs. Below we will analyze them all:

  • See through: When 'through' comes with this verb, it can be used in two ways: One is to show that we are looking through something like a glass, window, etc. The other is to be cautious so as not to be deceived by lies. Take a look:

Melanie can see through his lies and will not be fooled anymore.

Here, it is inferred that Melanie will no longer be deceived by that person.

I can see Dr. Helmer right through the window, mom.

Here, the sentence indicates that he/she is looking from one side of the window to its other.

  • When someone has undergone an experience, we can use verbs such as 'guide', 'be', 'come', etc. with 'through':

Your spirit animal will guide you all the way through the tough stages in life; just listen to it.

Although it's not visible to the eye, I have been through an emotional crises lately.

  • We can indicate the reason of something by using 'through'. Here, we mainly use the verb 'lose':

What did you lose through this relationship?

Here, the sentence shows that something has lost some things because of a particular relationship they had with someone.

How many holidays are you going to lose through this low-waged job of yours?

  • When we want to talk about matches and competitions in which people get from one stage to another, we can use 'through' with verbs such as 'get' and 'make':

How could she get through the fourth stage that easily?

I'm so glad my daughter made it through to the final stage.

Position in a Sentence

Whether we are using 'through' with an action verb or not, it mainly comes after the main verb of the sentence. If the verb is a transitive verb one, we must put the preposition and its accompanying noun after the direct object, and if we have an intransitive verb, we put the preposition and its noun after the main verb. Look:

I still don't understand how Maggie made it through that stage.

Here, since 'make' is a transitive verb, we use 'through' after the direct object.

The children should just go through the jungle.

Here, 'go' is an intransitive verb.

'Through' as an Adverb


'Through' can also function as an adverb. Below was will see the kinds of adverbs it can be used as:

'Through' as an Adverb of Time

We can use 'through' to indicate that the action of the verb continues to the end of a period. So, it is an adverb of time. It is used to show a process in a particular period of time. Study the following examples:

Marianna's project has made her cancel all her plans through to summer.

Here, 'through' is functioning as an adverb of time, showing a process happening in a period of time.

My friend will be travelling through to May.

'Through' as an Adverb of Movement and Direction

'through' can also be used as an adverb of movement. It indicates moving from one side of something to the other side of it. So, it is used with an action verb. Study the following examples:

The police won't open the gates because people will rush through.

I gasped at how sudden he hurried through.

Position in a Sentence

As you might probably know, we mainly put adverbials after the main verbs and at the end of the sentences. However, we can begin a sentence with an adverbial phrase. Take a look below:

Through to winter, my dad will be working from 10 to 10.

There are armed forces to not let people come streaming through once the gates are opened.


Please note that when we begin a sentence with an adverbial phrase, we must put a comma after the phrase. Take a look:

Streaming through, the people stepped foot on one another.

'Through' as an Adjective


We can also use 'through' as an adjective. It is a pre-positive attributive adjective because it comes before a noun to show that it is continuing and directed towards a destination or end. Study the following examples:

This is a through train to Las Vegas.

Here, it means that this is a direct train that is headed towards Las Vegas.

Where can I find a through bus to this village?

Position in a Sentence

Since pre-positive attributive adjectives come before nouns, we must always make sure that we put 'though' as an adjective, before the noun it represents. Take a look:

A through train to Hogwarts is what I need right now.

Here, the adjective has been used in the beginning of the sentece.

Sorry madam but you cannot find a through bus to Glasgow. You must change lines to get there.

Idioms and Expressions with 'Through'

We have a few expressions with 'through' and we will learn all about them below:

  1. Be through to something: We use this idiom when we are successful in an exam, a competition, etc:

Maya is through to the next stage in American Idol.

They have all been through their exams.


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